India, Germany back security transition to Afghan forces
"India and Germany have the same goal in Afghanistan, as an independent country with security in its own hands," the visiting German chancellor told a news conference.
Flanked by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Angela Merkel said Afghanistan should develop independent security architecture, an idea that was supported by Singh.
Afghanistan could not have a military solution and the international community should find a lasting settlement, the Indian leader said.
"We do not think a military solution alone is possible and security architecture is needed. An Afghanistan conference with focus on transition and reconciliation is part and parcel of this," he added.
Merkel informed Germany would host an important conference on Afghanistan by year end in Bonn. "We reviewed the latest developments in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and will continue our discussions on these matters.
Both sides recognised terrorism as a serious challenge that had to be fought on all fronts and not selectively, Singh said.
Germany had earlier announced plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by 2014. With more than 5,350 security personnel, Germany is one of the main contributors of troops to coalition operations in Afghanistan.
About 52 German soldiers and three policemen have died in Afghanistan so far, maintaining security of the country.
An early troop pullout by America and NATO from Afghanistan worries India, which fears that Pakistan-backed Taliban may gain ground in the country.
While Delhi and Kabul are on same page on terrorism, India has expanded its diplomatic and friendly influence in the region by providing around $1.3 billion for development projects in Afghanistan since the overthrow of the Taliban regime in 2001.
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