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November 11, 2001
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Post-Taleban set-up high on Indo-British talks

Sanjay Suri in London

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his British counterpart Tony Blair are due to hold talks on Monday on the formation of a post-Taleban government in Afghanistan.

Vajpayee, who arrives in Britain on Monday, is due to hold "detailed and substantive" talks with Blair on the post-Taleban set-up, a senior Indian official told Indo-Asian News Service.

India and Britain are expected to play a key role in negotiations on a post-Taleban scenario because both countries are said to have a strong intelligence network in Afghanistan.

The strong historical association of both countries with Afghanistan has been seen in Washington as a significant reason to assign a strong role for India and Britain in Afghanistan, the official said.

The fall of Mazar-e-Sharif has given new urgency to efforts for a diplomatic replacement of the Taleban. The US is now making a strong push for putting up a new government in Afghanistan before winter, the official said.

All this makes London the last, but not the least, of the stops on Vajpayee's international tour.

India and Britain have stepped up sharing of intelligence from Afghanistan. Indian intelligence reports are being used to check the veracity of continuing feedback from Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, the official said. That follows several reports suggesting that ISI agents could be playing a double game in Afghanistan.

The talks between Vajpayee and Blair are significant also because they follow the brief meeting between the two leaders in New Delhi last month when clear differences of views arose between them.

Vajpayee made a strong assertion at that meeting against double standards on terrorism -- that India cannot be a spectator to terrorism aimed at it while it was all right for the US to attack terrorists around the globe.

The talks between the two prime ministers in London are set to tackle these differences.

Indo-Asian News Service

America's War on Terror: The Complete Coverage
The Attack on US Cities: The Complete Coverage

The Terrorism Weblog: Latest Stories from Around the World

External Link:
For further coverage, please visit www.saja.org/roundupsept11.html

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