Afghanistan asks Pakistan to shut terror sanctuaries (Lead)August 31st, 2010 - 10:07 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Aug 31 (IANS) In an oblique reference to Pakistan, Afghanistan Tuesday called for shutting down of terrorist sanctuaries and conveyed to India that it has “evidence of cross-border involvement” in the attack on the Indian embassy over two years ago.
Afghan National Security Adviser Rangin Dadfar Spanta Tuesday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and sought closer cooperation with India in combating terrorism.
He also met External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and his Indian counterpart Shivshankar Menon.
Spanta briefed the prime minister about the evidence of the involvement of the Pakistani agencies in the attacks on the Indian embassy in July 2008 and a failed attempt in October 2009, sources said.
He also apprised India about Pakistan’s complicity in aiding and abetting violence and instability in Afghanistan through its proxies, sources added.
Spanta, who touched down here on a day-long visit, updated India on the worsening security situation in his country and the ongoing efforts to stabilise the country ahead of the Sep 18 parliamentary polls, said sources.
The upgradation of security of around 3,500 Indians working in Afghanistan was also discussed.
This is the second high-level visit by Afghan functionaries in less than a week.
Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul visited India last week, which ended with both sides reiterating their determination to ensure terrorists and extremist groups, targeting Afghanistan and other countries in the region, are denied safe haven and sanctuaries.
“We must destroy terror sanctuaries. We must eliminate training centres,” Spanta told NDTV. “We have evidence of cross-border involvement in the attacks on the Indian embassy,” he said.
India had suspected the involvement of Pakistan’s spy agency Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) in the attack on the Indian embassy July 7, 2008 that also killed two Indian diplomats. Islamabad vehemently denied any connection with the embassy bombing.
Conveying appreciation for an array of reconstruction projects by India in Afghanistan, Spanta urged New Delhi to broaden its engagement in that country, which could include enhancing the capabilities of its security forces.
“We will like to see India engage more in these fields because this is fundamental for future of Afghanistan,” he told reporters here.
“We would like to have broad and extended cooperation with India for stability and reconstruction and also enhancing Afghan security capabilities,” he replied when asked whether Afghanistan would want India to train the Afghan National Army.
Spanta, who wrote a hard-hitting article in the Washington Post last week accusing Pakistan of harbouring Al-Qaeda and other militant groups, was however, candid about keeping communication line open with the Pakistan army to end cross-border terrorism.
“We all know Pakistan army has relevance and place in daily lives and politics of Pakistan. This is not a reality of today, this is the case of 60-65 years,” he told journalists when asked about the recent meeting between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan Army chief Ashfaq Kayani.
He stressed that the Afghan government has good relations with the civilian dispensation in Islamabad “but because Army is a very special institution in Pakistan, so our civilian leader President Karzai has to talk to this institution to seek cooperation and collaboration of Pakistan army.”
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Tags: combating terrorism, connectio, dadfar spanta, external affairs minister, extremist groups, indian counterpart, indian diplomats, indian embassy, inter services, manmohan, manmohan singh, national security adviser, ndtv, oblique reference, parliamentary polls, prime minister manmohan, prime minister manmohan singh, security situation, spy agency, upgradation