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There is nothing like good Taliban: India

March 18, 2009 23:29 IST

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As it prepares to participate in two international conferences on Afghanistan, India on Wednesday cautioned against treating any section of Taliban [Images] as "good", in an apparent message to the United States, which has expressed readiness to hold talks with "moderate" militia.

Maintaining that it would be unwise to negotiate with Taliban and leave people to their mercy, sources in New Delhi [Images] said efforts should instead be made to strengthen the age-old tribal structures which are still intact in Afghanistan.

The situation in Afghanistan, over which world concerns are growing because of resurgence of Taliban, will be discussed at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Moscow [Images] on March 27 and a conference in The Hague later this month.

India is expected to be represented by the Prime Minister's Special Envoy S K Lambah at the SCO meeting. Some high-ranking official will also be attending The Hague meet.

At these meetings, India will present its prescription for stabilisation of Afghanistan, which would include giving thrust to developmental initiatives besides military and security components in creating a zone of peace.

India feels that efforts should be made to create 'secure areas' and promote developmental activities in such areas, a process that would alienate the Taliban.

New Delhi disfavours any negotiations with Taliban, either in Afghanistan or Pakistan, saying there are no good elements in the fundamentalist militia as is claimed by some sections.

"There is no good Taliban or bad Taliban. Leaving people at the mercy of Taliban is no solution," the sources said, adding negotiations with Taliban will serve no purpose.

The comment is a veiled message to the US, which has expressed willingness to hold talks with "moderate" Taliban.

"The old tribal structures still work in Afghanistan and they have no place for Taliban or other extremists," the sources said, suggesting a three-pronged approach covering development, security and governance for the region.

They cited the successful development projects undertaken by India in Afghanistan by engaging the local people there, who tend to defend the initiatives as they are results of the suggestions of the tribals.

The sources pointed out that the local tribal structures in Pakistan were systematically destroyed by the ISI and this could be a hindrance in engaging local population in development work there.

Significantly, Iran has also been invited for The Hague conference, which is spearheaded by the US.

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