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India fears resurgence of 'Islamic radicals' in Afghanistan after NATO pullout

Washington, Thu, 31 May 2012 ANI

Washington, May 31 (ANI): Voicing fears that Islamic radicals would gain strength once Western forces pull out of Afghanistan, India has called for greater coordination between the United States and Afghanistan.

India is one of the most vocal supporters of continued engagement and has given Afghanistan over two billion dollars since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001 overthrew the Taliban regime, reports The Dawn.

Ahead of high-level annual talks between India and the U.S. on June 13, Nirupama Rao, New Delhi's ambassador to Washington, said the two nations have been holding talks on building "a stable, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan."

"These consultations must be strengthened," Rao said.

"We understand that after 10 long years of war there is a manifest and genuine desire to seek an end to conflict. But equally, we must ensure that the enormous sacrifices and efforts of the past decade have not been in vain," she said.

"Given the history of the last few decades in Afghanistan and the tide of extremism and radicalism that has swept across that country to the great detriment of its men, women and children, one cannot but help be concerned about what the future holds for that country" after the NATO pullout, she added.

India's involvement in Afghanistan has enraged neighboring Pakistan, which helped create the Taliban regime and accuses its historic rival of seeking to encircle it.

US President Barack Obama and other Western leaders have vowed to support Afghanistan through military training and other assistance after the pullout of combat troops.

NATO leaders in a May 21 summit in Chicago committed to pulling combat troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014 as Western nations grow tired of more than a decade of war and pessimistic on the chances of further progress. (ANI)

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