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NATO’s exit from Afghanistan worries India

NATO’s exit from Afghanistan worries India

May 31, 2012 - 11:49

WASHINGTON  (PANinfo-icon): A top Indian diplomat and a leading opposition leader on Wednesday expressed concern over the situation in Afghanistaninfo-icon after the US-led international forces withdraws from the country in 2014 --  fearing Pakistaninfo-icon might push Talibaninfo-icon to grab power in Kabulinfo-icon again.

“As far as withdrawal of NATOinfo-icon troops from Afghanistan, I would say that this is an exercise that has to be undertaken with greatest degree of caution. You can’t leave Afghanistan at the mercy of Taliban or at the mercy of Pakistan,” said Yashwant Sinha, senior leader of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.

Sinha, also former Indian finance and foreign minister, feared that Pakistan for its own geopolitical reasons might want to encourage Taliban to again take over Afghanistan.

Addressing a gathering at the Brookings Institute -- a Washington-based eminent think-tank, Sinha said Afghanistan now lacks a sufficient military -- or an anti-Taliban force, such as the Northern Allianceinfo-icon which enjoyed Indian, Iranian and Russian support before the war -- to withstand an assault from the Taliban post 2014. 

"I don't see any local resistance building up immediately if the Taliban were to attempt to overrun Afghanistan," he said.

"US has to stay the course in Afghanistan. NATO has to stay the course in Afghanistan until we are absolutely confident the Afghan army and the armed forces of Afghanistan are in a position to meet the Taliban threat," the BJP leader said.

A similar view was also expressed by the Indian Ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao.

“For us in the region, given the history of events in Afghanistan and the fact that Taliban forces and radical groups in the border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan and given their activity, one is concerned about what the situation would be once US withdraws from that country,” Rao, told audience at Atlantic Council, a Washington-based reputed Indian think tank.

“We understand that after ten long years of war there is a manifest and genuine desire to seek an end to conflict. But equally, we must ensure that the enormous sacrifices and efforts of the past decade have not been in vain,” she said in her remarks.

"Given the history of the last few decades in Afghanistan and the tide of extremism and radicalism that has swept across that country to the great detriment of its men, womeninfo-icon and children, one cannot but be concerned about what the future holds for that country" after the NATO pullout, Rao said responding to questions from the audience.




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