IS threat may spill over region, warns Afghan envoy
The threat of the quasi-state terror outfit Islamic State (IS) may spill over the South Asian region and beyond, Afghan Ambassador to India Shaida Abdali warned on Tuesday.
" Although we have a number of fresh (terrorist) groups, our focus will be on a new phenomenon called Daesh (as the IS is also called)," Abdali said while delivering a lecture "Strengthening India-Afghanistan Strategic Relations in an Uncertain World" organised by the think tank Brookings India.
"This is the most dangerous phenomenon we are facing. This most brutal, brutal phenomenon is growing in Afghanistan and its effects are being felt by the people of Afghanistan," he said.
Abdali expressed the hope that the countries of the region and the rest of the world would help Afghanistan in dealing with "this most dangerous group that we face today that can literally spill over the rest of the region and beyond".
His comments come after the US dropped the massive ordnance air blast (MOAB) or the "mother of all bombs", also dubbed as the most powerful non-nuclear bomb, on April 13 targeting an IS tunnel network in Afghanistan.
Without naming Pakistan, the Ambassador said that terrorism was being used as a tool "against Afghanistan, against India and other countries of the world".
Stressing that there should be no duplicity in dealing with terrorism, he said that one should not differentiate between the IS and the Taliban.
However, he was wholesome in his praise for India for its role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan.
Recalling that New Delhi and Kabul had upgraded the bilateral relationship into a strategic relationship, Abdali said that India was the first strategic ally of Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban.
"We are grateful to India for being the largest donor in the region and the fifth largest donor in Afghanistan's reconstruction," he said..
He said that the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited his country twice in the last couple of years showed the importance India gave to Afghanistan.
Modi visited Kabul in December 2015 to jointly inaugurate with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani a new building of the country's parliament built with Indian aid and then again in June last year to inaugurate the India-Afghanistan Friendship Dam.
"India has contributions in each of the achievements of Afghanistan in the last 16 years," Abdali said.
From almost no education in 2001, there are now millions of students going to school in Afghanistan, he said, adding that there are over 16,000 Afghan students studying in India.
According to the Ambassador, in a country of 30 million people, there are over 20 million mobile users, over 60 TV channels and over 200 newspapers.
"We had presidential and parliamentary elections," he said.
"From no army and no police, today we have 352,000 army and police (personnel)."
Abdali said that the role of all countries was necessary in the reconstruction of Afghanistan in this new world order of multi-polarity.
"A better Asia and a peaceful Asia can be achieved by learning from past mistakes," he said.
The Ambassador also called for operationalising the India-Afghanistan-US trilateral partnership for peace and stability in Afghanistan.
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