Herat attack,reconstruction efforts figure in Modi-Karzai meet

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today held talks with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai during which they discussed ways to enhance cooperation in key areas and the recent attack on Indian consulate in Herat that the Afghan leader maintains was carried out by Lashkar-e-Toiba.

During his first bilateral meeting with any international leader after assuming charge, Modi thanked Karzai for the assistance provided by the Afghan forces in repelling the attack on the consulate and said it had “only strengthened our resolve to work together with Afghanistan”.

Modi reiterated India’s commitment to the development and reconstruction of Afghanistan and its interest in seeing a prosperous, independent and sovereign Afghanistan, where the reconciliation process would be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled, said Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh.

Singh was briefing the reporters about the meetings of the newly-elected Prime Minister on his first working day with SAARC Heads of Government and State, invited for the swearing-in ceremony of Modi yesterday.

Asked about Karzai’s remarks yesterday that terrorist group LeT was behind the attack on the Indian Consulate and if same was raised in the meeting, Singh parried a detailed answer and merely said, “Yes. There was a discussion (on terror attack)” and the views of Afghan President were in the public domain.

Karzai had yesterday said, “According to information given to us by a Western intelligence agency, the perpetrators of the Herat attack belonged to the LeT. This was mentioned in writing in the report shared with us….”

In response to a query on India and Afghanistan being victims of Pakistan-sponsored terror, President Karzai said “both Afghanistan and India hope that relevant authorities in Pakistan will react and uproot the source and sanctuary of terror in Pakistan”.

Asked about Indian view in the wake of withdrawal of NATO combat troops which was a matter of security concern for the international community, Singh said, “We are deeply involved…. including training Afghan national security forces and we expect the cooperation to increase in coming days” but asserted that Afghan forces will be able to protect the country and others there the way they have done during the recent Herat attack.

The meeting with Karzai was followed by Modi’s talks with Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and other SAARC leaders at the ceremonial Hyderabad House.

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