Indian presence in Afghanistan cannot be used against Pakistan: Hamid Karzai

President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai terming Pakistan  a conjoined twin and brother of Afghanistan said Saturday that the Indian presence in Afghanistan cannot be used against the brotherly country. “Indian presence in Afghanistan is in no way and cannot be in any manner used against Pakistan”, President Karzai said in an interview with PTV aired on Saturday night. “Pakistan is a conjoined twin and brother (of Afghanistan),” President Karzai stressed.

He  said, however, India being an old friend of Afghanistan was helping it tremendously and providing financial assistance and “Pakistan should feel happy that Afghanistan is being helped by another neighbour.”

Karzai lauded the role of Pakistani leadership and the people  for their enhanced cooperation with Afghanistan to achieve peace and stability in the country and region.

To a question, President Karzai agreed that contrary to the government of former President Pervez Musharraf, the relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have improved a lot after the current PPP-led government came into power.

President Karzai said that he was the only foreign dignitary, who was invited to the oath-taking of President Asif Ali Zardari in 2008 saying it was ‘an unusual’ gesture.

He also appreciated the leadership of President Zardari and said he  feels highly  concerned about the future of Pakistan and the country’s socio-economic development.

President Karzai termed the recent visit of Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani to Afghanistan  ‘very important’ and said during that visit the two sides agreed to establish Pak-Afghan Peace Commission.

To another question, President Karzai said he had come here to further strengthen and ensure deeper and

much better friendly relations with Pakistan.

He said Pakistan and Afghanistan have enormous potential and opportunities of carrying trade and economic   cooperation . This could be done through bilateral and regional engagement  and with  enhanced cooperation of Central Asian States.

The Afghan President in this respect mentioned TAPI and CASA-1000, the trans-regional gas pipeline and electricity projects and said the two countries could also work together for benefit in  hydro-power

sector.

About Afghanistan’s relations with Iran, President Karzai said   his country has been very clear with the US that Iran being its neighbor, having 900 kms of borders and sharing linguistic, cultural, religious links, “there is no way that Afghanistan cannot have relationship with  it and we did it”.

To a question, the Afghan President said,  whatever the Western countries might think,  ultimately the Afghan people have to bear responsibility for protecting  their country strengthening  peace and stability.

Karzai said the regional cooperation particularly Pak-Afghan cooperation is very important in this respect.

APP

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