Pakistan a twin brother, talks to go on: Karzai
NEW DELHI (PAN): President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday said that signing a strategic partnership pact with India would not undermine Afghanistan's ties with its "twin brother" Pakistan.
Concluding his two-day visit to India after signing a strategic partnership deal with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he said: "Pakistan is our twin brother, India is a great friend. The agreement we signed with our friend will not affect our brother."
Karzai made the remarks while delivering a foreign policy speech at the Observer Research Foundation, a New Delhi-based think tank.
"This strategic partnership is not directed against any country. This strategic partnership is to support Afghanistan," the president explained, saying it was aimed at the reconstruction of Afghanistan.
"This is all strategic. Yesterday, we only put in words what we have been doing all these years," remarked Karzai, who also elaborated on his position on halting talks with the Taliban.
Afghanistan had to put on hold the peace talks with Taliban in the wake of continued attacks, Karzai said, claiming no other government had tried as much as his administration to reach out to the fighters.
"We have decided not to talk to the Taliban because we don't know their address; we don't know where to find them," the visiting dignitary continued.
The focus of his efforts at bringing peace to his country, where international troops are set to withdraw by 2014, would be on talking to Pakistan, he said, adding: "However, our engagement with Islamabad has unfortunately not yet yielded the result that we want."
Although Karzai tried to allay Pakistan's doubts about Afghanistan's growing Indian engagement, defence experts say the strategic partnership and the training of Afghan troops by India has great significance.