July 22, 2002
1025 IST

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Taliban still casts shadow over Afghanistan, warns India

Our Correspondent at the United Nations

India continues to pour aid -- in cash, and kind -- into Afghanistan.

On July 10, US $10 million was transferred to the Afghan government as a cash subsidy grant, part of a US $100 million commitment.

Details regarding the transfer of three Airbus aircraft as grant to Ariana Airlines are being worked out. Meanwhile, 50 buses have already been transferred.

In the area of food, India has committed 1 million tons of wheat. Discussions are on with the World Food Programme to send part of this as high-protein biscuits for Afghan schoolchildren.

An estimated 18 tons of material were sent to set up camp for providing artificial limbs for amputees in Kabul. Other supplies include tents, medical supplies, blankets and other necessities in substantial quantities. A computer-training centre has been established and is being run by Indian experts.

The list goes on.

Vijay K Nambiar, ambassador extraordinary and India's permanent representative to the United Nations, made these points in a speech on the situation in Afghanistan, delivered before the Security Council on Friday.

His thesis was that Afghanistan today faces multi-faceted challenges and requires substantial, extensive, and long-term assistance from the international community to go ahead with its reconstruction and humanitarian requirements.

Commending the successful conclusion in June of the Loya Jirga (grand council of tribal elders) which selected 1,000 delegates, including 200 women, from Afghanistan's 390 districts, Nambiar said it was heartening to note the election of a head of state and the appointment of a transitional authority and other structures.

But, warned Nambiar, the fact that Vice-President Haji Abdul Qadir was assassinated on July 6, within a month of the Loya Jirga, is a disquieting sign that "the forces of instability and extremism continue to cast their dark shadow over Afghanistan".

"We strongly condemn this and other incidents. We cannot allow these forces to succeed," he told the Security Council.

Nambiar in his speech pointed out that United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan had in his July 11 report on the situation in Afghanistan referred to threats to the consolidation of a civil government being posed by Taliban and Al Qaeda forces.

"The continued regrouping of Al Qaeda and Taliban cadres along Afghanistan's southern and southeastern borders heavily impinges on the security situation in Afghanistan and on the rest of the region," he said. "What is more worrying is that they continue to receive external support."

Arguing that the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and those entities supporting them from outside, could not be allowed to succeed in efforts to destabilise Afghanistan's civilian government, Nambiar said the international community needed to help the nation develop its security structures.

"It is important that these structures are established as Afghan institutions flowing out of intra-Afghan processes relevant to and targeted at meeting Afghan needs of internal and external threats," he said.

Reiterating India's support for this process, Nambiar told the Security Council that the Government of India had undertaken the organisation and conduct of 12 training courses involving some 250 Afghan police officers in specialised areas such as investigation techniques, logistics, personnel management and general policing duties.

"India's interest, as also the interest of all peace-loving peoples around the world, lies in the emergence of a strong, united and independent Afghanistan," Nambiar said.

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