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December 7, 2001
1915 IST

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Pakistan's policy of interference has failed: Qanooni

Lashing out at Pakistan for supporting terrorists in Afghanistan and Jammu and Kashmir, Afghan Interior Minister Younous Qanooni on Friday said Islamabad's policy of interference in his country had failed with the fall of Kandahar, the last stronghold of the Taliban.

"The Government of Pakistan should know that its policy of terrorism in Afghanistan has failed, as also in other places. This is the time for Islamabad to review its strategy of the past," Qanooni, who arrived in New Delhi on Thursday night, told reporters after a 45-minute meeting with External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh.

Qanooni is the first Afghan leader to visit India after the power sharing accord among the four Afghan factions near Bonn, Germany, earlier this week.

The Afghan minister said many of the Taliban fighters were from Pakistan. "Many of them from Pakistan are still there in Afghanistan."

Assuring Kabul of unconditional support for the reconstruction of the war-ravaged country, Singh said India remained committed to the restoration of lasting peace and amity in Afghanistan.

About New Delhi's view on the proposed peacekeeping force in Afghanistan, Singh said any decision on this would be taken by the Afghan interim administration.

Asked about his plans to visit Afghanistan, Singh said he would do so "at the right time. It will be an honour to go to Afghanistan".

Qanooni said the new set up would further consolidate all areas of cooperation with India.

Lauding India for its "timely help", he said, "I am happy to be here among friends. The People in Afghanistan will never forget the assistance extended by India when my country was facing a bad time."

The minister hoped that countries, which had joined the international coalition against terrorism in Afghanistan, would come forward in equal earnest for the reconstruction of the country.

Qanooni, who also had a 30 minute meeting with Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani, sought to downplay the reported differences between former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani and Uzbek militia leader Abdul Rashid Dostum, saying both leaders had agreed with the decisions taken in Germany.

"Minor differences here or there will be sorted out soon," he said.

Later, Advani told reporters that he had assured all help to Afghanistan

He said that the visiting Afghan minister had sought help in every sphere, including policing and maintaining of law and order.

The home minister said that the new interim government of Afghanistan had a daunting task ahead, but expressed hope that the "Afghan people will now breathe in a free air".

PTI

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