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India Promises Visiting Afghan President More Aid


Afghan President Hamid Karzai has won a promise from top Indian leaders of more aid in rebuilding his country. President Karzai is on an official four-day visit to India.

After wrapping up talks with the Afghan president in the Indian capital on Monday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pledged $50 million in aid for Afghanistan. That comes on top of about $600 million that India is already spending on a range of development projects in the country.

Mr. Singh and Afghan President Hamid Karzai also signed three agreements committing New Delhi to assist Kabul in education and rural development projects.

New Delhi is among the top donors to Afghanistan, and is actively involved in its reconstruction. Indians are also helping train Afghanistan's civil servants, diplomats and police officers.

Mr. Karzai says the cooperation between India and Afghanistan will help his country.

"I am sure the cooperation between our two countries will go a long way in bringing more stability and peace to Afghanistan," he said. "It will also bring, definitely, business exchanges between the two countries."

Indian officials say the Afghan leader's visit strengthens the close political ties the two countries have nurtured since the overthrow of Afghanistan's Taleban regime. India sees Afghanistan as a gateway to Central Asia, and also wants to counter the influence there of its regional rival, Pakistan.

In a joint statement, the two countries condemned global terrorism as a threat to democracy. Mr. Karzai said his government is determined to fight the scourge.

"We in Afghanistan are among the worst victims of terrorism," he said. "We have been affected by terrorism in a massive way. Afghanistan has every reason to work with India, and the rest of the international community, and our neighbors, to get rid of this menace for the sake of Afghanistan, for the sake of this region, and for the sake of people all over the world."

The Afghan president, who is accompanied by a large business delegation, is also due to visit the information technology hub of Hyderabad in the south of India.

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