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India and Afghanistan Agree to Work Together to Fight Terrorism - 2002-08-10


India and Afghanistan have said they are jointly committed to fighting terrorism in South Asia. The issue was addressed during talks Saturday in Kabul between Indian Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha and senior Afghan officials.

Mr. Sinha came to Afghanistan on a mission primarily focused on Indian assistance to the war-ravaged nation.

But questions about terrorism in South Asia dominated a news conference he held late Saturday with Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah.

The terrorism issue arises amid new reports that remnants of the al-Qaida terrorist network may be linking up in Pakistan with militants who have fought Indian troops in the disputed Kashmir region.

Also, in Afghanistan itself, there has been a resurgence of suspected al-Qaida activity. This includes the discovery of an alleged terrorist plot to explode a car bomb in Kabul, and a reported jail break that left 13 suspected al-Qaida members dead.

Mr. Sinha said India and Afghanistan are committed to jointly fighting regional terrorism. "Both Afghanistan and India, as you are aware, are part of the international coalition against terrorism. And within the international framework, we do whatever is necessary to meet the threat of terrorism in our part of the world," Mr. Sinha said.

Mr. Abdullah was asked if Pakistan is doing enough to crack down on terrorism. "We praise the official position of the government of Pakistan in its commitment in combating terrorism," Mr. Abdullah said.

The issue is a delicate one for Afghanistan. Kabul wants Indian support for its reconstruction, and cannot afford to offend the Indian government, which accuses Pakistan of fomenting cross-border attacks by Islamic militants in Indian Kashmir.

To highlight Indian aid to Afghanistan, Mr. Sinha flew to Kabul in the first of three jetliners India is donating to the Afghan airline company, Ariana.

He also announced programs to promote health care, agriculture and training for Afghan doctors, policemen and diplomats.

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