By: The Kabul Times
Even as Afghanistan is embroiled in the controversy related to the recently held presidential elections, the Afghan envoy to New Delhi, Tahir Qadiry spoke to Indian Today TV on Wednesday about the continued strong ties between India and Afghanistan.
The recently announced seven-point plan of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani comes at a time when the world leaders gathered in Istanbul to discuss the situation in Afghanistan at the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference.
Speaking of the “substantive” plan of his administration, Qadiry said, “His Excellency the President came out with a seven-point plan which is very inclusive. It includes talking to our neighboring countries like Pakistan, to form a regional consensus and have all countries that have a stake in Afghanistan onboard. It also includes talking to different institutions to get their support, holding talks with the US, the Taliban and also improving and strengthening institutions at the national level.”
Speaking on the issue of cross-border terrorism and the issue of state-sponsored foreign terrorists raised by Union minister Gen (retd) VK Singh at the Heart of Asia conference, the Afghan envoy said, “Senior Afghan official have always been saying that cross-border insurgency needs to be curbed because that is the main reason for insurgency and disruptions in Afghanistan. A senior American official said if countries across borders don’t give safe havens to the Taliban and terrorists, the Taliban would be eliminated within two weeks.”
He emphasized on the fact that a secure and peaceful Afghanistan means a peaceful region.
On the fight against terrorism, Afghanistan has been on the frontline and is trying to find ways to defeat terror networks that have grown into many splinter groups, he said.
“As far as the security situation is concerned, we are at the frontline of fighting international terrorists. Apart from the three big insurgent groups-the Al Qaeda, Taliban and Daesh-Afghan security forces are also fighting 23 other international networks. So, imagine over the last one year our brave security forces were able to arrest some 700 foreign terrorists coming from different countries to fight in Afghanistan,” the Afghan envoy said.
Afghanistan is striving towards self-reliance and therefore a major thrust of the current administration is increasing trade, particularly with India.
To a question on how have US sanctions affected Indo-Afghan trade through the Chabahar port in Iran, Ambassador Qadiry said, “I wouldn’t just focus so much on Chabahar. We have got so many other avenues that we can talk about. Chabahar was a great milestone for all the countries, especially Afghanistan because our country in the past was called a landlocked country. We now call it a land-bridged country. Thanks to our Indian partners, the trade is increasing. There have been some problems regarding trade through Chabahar, but our Indian partners are still interested in increasing trade and we are trying to solve those problems. Wheat is coming to Afghanistan and fruits would go to India through Chabahar. Apart from Chabahar, the air corridor has also been a success.” “Our government is moving towards self-reliance and that’s why Afghanistan is moving from being an aid-recipient country to a partnership nation. India being a prime location for Afghan products is why there is so much focus on trade with India”, he said.