Afghanistan wants India to be on board for all peace efforts: Karzai

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 Jan 2019 09:12:15



AMID efforts by the US and Russia to reach out to the Taliban for a reconciliation process in Afghanistan, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Thursday his country wants India to be on board for all peace efforts and also ‘do more’ on its own, detached from other countries.
Speaking at the Raisina Dialogue here, Karzai also asserted Pakistan has the ‘most significant role’ to play in bringing peace in Afghanistan.

The former President said that India and Afghanistan share an “amazing and romantic relationship” which raises expectations to an “unrealistic level”. “We want India to do a lot more in Afghanistan, do things entirely on its own, detached from all other countries. We have had one of the best relationships, and for that reason, expectations are high.” “So, we want India to be on board all the peace processes that seek to bring stability, institution-building and development in Afghanistan,” he said.

India has been one of the greatest contributors to Afghanistan and has already built Parliament, power lines, dams and roads and extended thousands of scholarships, he said. Asked about US President Donald Trump’s recent remarks mocking New Delhi’s role in Afghanistan, Karzai said it was ‘hyped’ by the media and he did not mean what was being reported.
“What he was alluding to was seeking India’s larger role in Afghanistan and support from India for peace and reconstruction, which is exactly what the Afghans want. Of course, he put it in different words,” Karzai said.

Trump recently took a jibe at Prime Minister Modi for funding a ‘library’ in Afghanistan, saying it is of no use in the war-torn country. Major powers such as the US and Russia have been reaching out to the Taliban as part of efforts to push the stalled Afghan peace process. In a significant move, India had sent two former diplomats in ‘non-official’ capacity to a conference on Afghan peace process in Moscow in November which was attended by a high-level Taliban delegation.