Protect positive factors in Af: MEA on US pullout

Today News Online Service

New Delhi, April 16

India today said any political settlement in Afghanistan must be inclusive and should preserve the socio-economic and political gains of the past 19 years.

“India supports a united, democratic and sovereign Afghanistan. We are deeply concerned about the increase in violence and targeted killings in Afghanistan. India has called for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire,” said the Ministry of External Affairs in its first public comments on the announcement by the US regarding the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan before September 11.

A similar message about preserving the gains of the past 20 years made by India-backed regimes in Kabul was flagged after US Secretary of State Antony Binken met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and National Reconciliation body chief Abdullah Abdullah on Thursday.

Blinken had discussed the importance of preserving the gains of the last 20 years, especially in building a strong civil society and protecting the rights of women, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price had said after the meeting with Ghani. India has made a strong contribution in these areas with its community and institutional building projects.

The MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said New Delhi was closely following the ongoing intra-Afghan peace process. “India has consistently held the view that the Afghan peace process should be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled,” he said.

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