Global player India has every right to ties with Kabul: US

Monday, January 10, 2011

WASHINGTON - As US Vice President Joe Biden paid a surprise visit to Afghanistan, the US reiterated that India, as a regional and emerging global power, has every right to have its own relationship with Kabul.

“We have made clear that India, as a regional and emerging global power, has every right to have its own relationship with Afghanistan,” State Department spokesman Phillip J. Crowley told reporters Monday.

“And we appreciate the support to the Government of Afghanistan that India has provided,” he said in response to a question about External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna’s recent visit to Kabul, where he alluded to Pakistan’s desire to keep India out of Afghanistan.

“As we’ve said many times, we have taken a regional approach” to the challenges of political extremism that affects all countries across the region,” Crowley said when asked about Krishna’s reported concern about threats to Indian interests in Afghanistan.

“The challenge of political extremism is not just focused on any one country. There have been attacks against Indian interests in Afghanistan, in India,” he said.

“And this is why we’re deeply engaged across the region with Afghanistan, with Pakistan, with India to try to attack this extremism that affects all of our countries.”

Meanwhile, a White House official said Biden’s unannounced visit to Kabul Monday was to get un update from top US and Afghan personnel ahead of July’s planned start of the withdrawal of US troops from the country in July.

Shortly after arrival in Kabul, Biden met US Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, top US commander Gen. David Petraeus and three Afghan officials, including First Vice President Marshal Mohammad Qasim Fahim to get “an update from them on the situation on the ground,” the official told travelling media.

“The primary purpose of the trip is to assess progress toward the transition to Afghan-led security beginning in 2011, and to demonstrate our commitment to a long-term partnership with Afghanistan,” the official said.

There are 97,000 US troops in Afghanistan.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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