Italy to cut military presence in Afghanistan
KABUL (PAN): Italy's special envoy said on Sunday his country would curtail its military presence in Afghanistan after 2014, but civilian assistance would continue beyond transition to Afghan security lead.
Franscesco M. Talo told reporters during a trip to Kabul the international community, especially Italy, would continue aiding Afghanistan after the security transfer.
The world would never repeat the 1990s mistake of walking out of Afghanistan, he promised, saying Italy had spent 700 million euros on reconstruction, health sector and judicial reforms in the country since 2001.
He reiterated his country remained committed to cooperation with Afghanistan in trade, reconstruction and other sectors. Italy desired to boost economic and cultural ties in addition to helping Afghanistan exploit its natural resources, he continued.
Francesco acknowledged Afghanistan's heavy dependency on the international community, calling for boosting agriculture, energy, irrigation and other sectors to make the country self-sufficient.
Without naming anyone, he accused some countries of supporting specific groups to grab power to maintain their influence in Afghanistan. The practice must end and Afghans themselves should decide who should rule the country.
The envoy, who also met President Hamid Karzai and some cabinet members, said they discussed major political and economic issues. He added relations between Afghanistan and Italy would be further expanded.
About Islamabad-Kabul ties, the diplomat said he had asked Pakistani officials to work together with regional countries to tackle the current problems.
According to him, Pakistan itself is a victim of terrorism and cannot get rid of the problem without cooperating with Afghanistan. He stressed full cooperation between the neighbours in combating the scourge.
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