Krishna in Kabul; to seek clarity on Afghan transition process
Kabul: Concerned over some aspects of the transition process in Afghanistan, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna flew in here on Saturday on a two-day visit during which he will seek from Afghan leadership clarity on a host of issues including President Hamid Karzai's move to provide representation to the Taliban over which India has serious reservation.
Krishna will hold talks with Afghan leadership during which he will also discuss security of Indian nationals and reiterate India's commitment for the reconstruction of the war-torn country.
"I look forward to detailed consultation... on further broadening and deepening our bilateral relationships and on regional and international issues of mutual interest," said Krishna, who arrived here on his third visit to Afghanistan.
Krishna, who will hold talks with his counterpart Zalmay Rassoul tomorrow before meeting President Hamid Karzai, is expected to also underline the importance of India's role in the reconstruction of the war-torn country.
India has pledged USD 1.3 billion for reconstruction activities.
Krishna today met First Vice President Mohammad Qasim Fahim and Second Vice President Mohammad Karim Khalili and former Speaker of the House of the People Mohammmad Yonus Qanooni.
Sources indicated that India would like to know how this whole transition process is going to play out and will see clarity on proposed move to provide representation to the Taliban. New Delhi feels such a move amounts to giving legitimacy to these elements.
This is first high-level meeting between New Delhi and Kabul after the last month's US review of the situation in Afghanistan.
According to the US assessment report "Overview of the Afghanistan and Pakistan Annual Review", America was still on course to begin troop withdrawal from Afghanistan as soon as July 2011 and continue to move towards the goal of having
Afghans take the lead in security in the country in 2014.
Given India's reservation to proposed reconciliation and reintegration of the Taliban, Krishna is also expected to reiterate New Delhi's position on 'Afghan-led and Afghan-owned' peace process.
Krishna's visit also comes amidst Afghanistan government's move to enlist Islamabad's help to broker peace with the Taliban.
During the meetings, both sides exchanged views on common challenges, including terrorism and decided to fight with all their might.