Can't squander human rights wins in Afghanistan: M J Akbar

Can't squander human rights wins in Afghanistan: M J Akbar

With renewed attempts to start a peace process with Taliban, India has argued that gains of the war on terror in Afghanistan should not be squandered away in pursuit of a political settlement.

"There has been a significant improvement in several key socio-economic indices of Afghanistan. A girl child born in 2001, now 17, has received education and now dreams of a better future....We cannot abandon these gains in search of a political settlement. A smile of hope on the face of the girl child is the peace we yearn for," M J Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs, said.

"It is our responsibility, each one of us, to protect this young Afghan girl for she is the symbol of change we want to see."

He was addressing a conference on Afghanistan in Tashkent recently.

He said that Afghanistan saw an eight-fold increase in student enrolment from fewer than one million students in 2001 to more than eight million students enrolled in schools in 2016. "More than a third (of the school students) are girls; nothing could be better news. Thanks to the efforts of the Afghan government and support of the international community, better education, nutrition and healthcare have percolated to grassroot levels," he said.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman echoed him in a speech in a conference on International Security in Moscow on Thursday.

"The situation in Afghanistan remains of concern. There is no choice between a political process and dealing effectively with the forces of terrorism and violence in that country. A policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism is essential if we are to sustain the gains made," she said.

"We must also, in the face of newer provocations and terrorism, persist with efforts to consolidate capacities of the Afghan government and security forces," she added.

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