A day after expanding the strategic ties with India, Afghan President Hamid Karzai sought to reassure Pakistan that his country's partnership with India, including the training of Afghan security forces, was not targeted against Islamabad.
"Pakistan is a twin brother, India is a great friend. The agreement we signed yesterday with our friend will not affect our brother," Karzai said.
The Afghan President also spoke about the economic integration of South Asia, subscribing to the vision of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"The signing of the strategic partnership with India is not directed against any country. It is not directed against any other entity. This is for Afghanistan to benefit from the strength of India," Karzai said in interaction after delivering the Third RK Mishra Memorial Lecture organised by Observer Research Foundation.
In his address, the Afghan leader said there was nothing new in the strategic partnership as the two countries have been engaged for the past few years, during which India has offered over 2000 scholarships to Afghan students, built roads and Zaranj-Delaram Highway, raised power transmission lines from North Afghanistan to Kabul and built the Parliament building.
"This is all strategic. Yesterday, we only put in words what we have been doing all these years," Karzai said. But Indian involvement in Afghanistan is extremely sensitive because of the delicate and often deadly power games in South Asia, with Pakistan vehemently opposed to it since it goes against Pakistan's strategic calculations.
But he also said the engagement with Islamabad had unfortunately not yet received any result that Afghanistan wanted.
"We have now decided not to talk to the Taliban because we don't know their address. When we find them, we will talk to them. Therefore we have decided to talk to our brothers, our neighbours," Karzai said.