Sunday, June 17, 2012

Afghan Taliban and India

Taliban praise India for resisting Afghan entanglement
KABUL | Sun Jun 17, 2012; Reuters
(Reuters) - India has done well to resist U.S. calls for greater involvement in Afghanistan, the Taliban said in a rare direct comment about one of the strongest opponents of the hardline Islamist group that was ousted from power in 2001.

The Taliban also said they won't let Afghanistan be used as a base against another country, addressing fears in New Delhi that Pakistan-based anti-India militants may become more emboldened if the Taliban return to power.
The Afghan Taliban have longstanding ties to Pakistan and striking a softer tone towards its arch rival India could be a sign of a more independent course.
Direct talks with the United States - which have since been suspended - and an agreement to open a Taliban office in Qatar to conduct formal peace talks have been seen as signs of a more assertive stance.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta this month encouraged India to take a more active role in Afghanistan as most foreign combat troops leave in 2014. The Taliban said Panetta had failed.
"He spent three days in India to transfer the heavy burden to their shoulders, to find an exit, and to flee from Afghanistan," the group said on its English website.
"Some reliable media sources said that the Indian authorities did not pay heed to (U.S.) demands and showed their reservations, because the Indians know or they should know that the Americans are grinding their own axe."
There had been no assurance for the Americans, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters on Sunday.
"It shows that India understands the facts," he said.
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