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Al Qaeda is against India's work in Afghanistan: Official
November 16, 2006 20:21 IST
Global terrorist network Al Qaeda is opposed to India's reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, a senior government official said on Thursday.
"India is associated with the stabilisation of peace and reconstruction works in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda is opposed to India's efforts in that country," said K S Singh, additional secretary in the external affairs ministry.
"Because of India's works in Afghanistan, Al Qaeda is looking at India," he said, noting that three Indians had been killed in the war-ravaged country in the recent past.
"Al Qaeda mentioned India in its public statement in 2006," Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar on 'Bridging the gap between peacekeeping and peace-building'.
He, however, asserted that India would continue its reconstruction and development efforts in Afghanistan.
His comments came as Delhi prepares to host a two-day conference from Saturday to discuss enhancement of cooperation in rebuilding Afghanistan.
The event will give impetus to the world community's efforts to substantially strengthen cooperation and partnerships with Afghanistan as that country endeavours to write a new chapter in its history -- one of durable peace and sustainable development and prosperity, Singh said.
India is committed to contribute to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan and has pledged $650 million since 2001.
Of this, $645 million has been committed for various projects. Over the past four years, $220 million has been utilised, he said.
Addressing the seminar, Singh said despite all measures taken by different international agencies, peace-building has been a challenge in Afghanistan.
"There is a degree of back-sliding in Afghanistan. A Shakespearean tragedy is unfolding in Iraq. These are among the few countries where peace-building is a real challenge," he said.
In its bid to step up efforts in this field, the United Nations set up a Peace-Building Commisison in December, 2005.
India, a major troop contributing country to UN peacekeeping missions, has been selected as a member of the organisational committee of PBC under the category of top five providers of military personnel and civilian police for peacekeeping operations.
India announced an initial commitment of $2 million to the peacebuilding fund set up under PBC. It has contributed over 85,000 troops for UN peacekeeping and participated in 42 missions so far.
A total of 119 Indian soldiers have died while serving under the UN flag, he said.
"Today there is the new dimension of global jihad also," he said, adding that people are looking at India on how to keep a tab on such forces.