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‘No peace mechanism in Afghanistan complete without India’

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NEW DELHI: Afghanistan Ambassador to India Dr Shaida M Abdali talks to Ritu Sharma about India’s firm presence in peace-building mechanisms in the conflict-riddled country, the change in government in the US and the need for bringing back Afghan Hindus and Sikhs. Excerpts:

How will the changing political situation in the US affect peace-building in Afghanistan?

The war against terrorism began 15-16 years ago by the US. Sanctuaries for terrorists still exist, and so do their support networks. Their 16-year war has not brought us the right results. We hope they will rethink their entire approach towards the war against terrorism.

Recently Russia, Pakistan and China had a dialogue and India and Afghanistan were left out.

Some may, no doubt, be trying to single out India. But when it comes to Afghanistan, it wants India to be always there to support us, because we believe in India’s sincerity against war on terrorism. We will never agree to any mechanism when it comes to-peace building in Afghanistan where India does not exist.

SAARC has failed to take off and other South Asian countries have got together to be part of BIMSTEC. Does Afghanistan feel left out?

We want SAARC to function. We have always backed mechanisms in the region that are aimed at unity, economic cooperation, regional peace and stability. Afghanistan will continue to support SAARC, and at the same time, Afghans will always be looking at other mechanisms where Afghanistan has its interest.

What about Chabahar Port?

Luckily after 13 years of efforts the Trilateral Transit Trade Agreement on Chabahar was recently signed. We are trying our best to make sure that Chabahar does not remain a beneficiary factor only for the three countries but for the rest of the region. (Indian Express)