US Refuses to Comment on Taliban Praise for India, Reiterates Delhi’s Cooperation

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosting Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna

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Washington – The United States avoided direct comment on media reports about the Taliban praising Delhi for standing up to Washington regarding the situation in Afghanistan, but the US appreciated the Indian support in the war-torn country.

Answering a question from India America Today, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told journalists this week, “We are pleased with the support that India is giving to strengthen security, stability, prosperity in Afghanistan.”

Nuland noted the US appreciation of “the economic support that it’s giving; the support that it’s giving to the Afghan National Security Forces, including in police training.”

Expressing regret for not having seen the report about the Taliban praising Delhi, Nuland said, “India has joined us in calling for Afghan-Afghan reconciliation and a process to do that. I’m not aware that anybody has asked India to play a direct role in that, though.

Highlighting “$2 billion worth of investment,” from India, Nuland said, “We’re also encouraged by the East-West Road Project that India is sponsoring, which we think can play a strong role in increasing trade and investment across the region.”

Nuland noted the efforts from India were helping, “knit the region together in a democratic direction.”

On the prospects in the country as the deadline of the 2014 withdrawal of US forces approaches, Nuland pointed at “manifest improvements in the security situation there,” concluding, “Now we’re in the process of turning many of those areas over to Afghan leadership, in line with the 2014 process.”

Earlier, the Taliban’s rare praise of India on its English language website, caught political pundits in the subcontinent by surprise. (IATNS)

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