Ghani flags concerns over rising IS presence in Af

Ghani flags concerns over rising IS presence in Af

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani ahead of a meeting at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI

India on Wednesday reiterated its commitment and support to the Afghanistan government's efforts towards an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace and reconciliation process.

This was conveyed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the one-on-one talks with visiting Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani here.

Modi also condemned terrorist attacks and violence in Afghanistan and expressed solidarity with the people and national defence forces in their fight against terrorism.

During the discussion, Ghani flagged concerns over increasing presence of IS  terrorists in Afghanistan over the past few months particularly in the deadly attacks in Ghazni last month in which over 70 Afghan policemen were killed.

Ghani also apprised Modi of the recent visit of Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to Kabul. Ghani is understood to have told Modi that he did not see any discernible change in Pakistan's approch towards Afghanistan.

Afghanistan had accused the Pakistani military of providing assistance to Taliban militia in carrying out deadly attacks in Ghazni province last month.

India believes that over 70% of these foreign terrorists in Afghanistan were from Pakistan, a view that was not shared by some other countries such as Russia and Iran. These countries believe that these foreign terrorists are mainly from Syria and Iraq.

“Everybody agrees to the fact that ISIS was gaining foothold in Afghanistan, but there were differences on the composition,” a government source said.

During the meeting, Modi expressed concern over the six Indian workers who were abducted in Afghanistan in May this year.

Ghani said he was personally monitoring the issue and assured Modi of the workers' safe release.

Among other issues that came up for discussion, it is learnt, are a low cost housing project in Nangarhar province, irrigation projects, polishing of gems, food processing and export of marbles to India.

Government sources said Ghani appreciated the decision of India and China to jointly work on projects and programmes in Afghanistan.

India and China are planning to start their partnership in Afghanistan with a training programme for Afghan diplomats in October. Afghan diplomats would undergo training at the Foreign Services Institute here and later travel to Beijing for the China leg of the programme.

Modi, the sources said, also sought long-term business visas for Indian businessmen to boost bilateral trade.

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