No power sharing agreement with Taliban: Holbrooke told Rao | india | Hindustan Times
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No power sharing agreement with Taliban: Holbrooke told Rao

india Updated: Dec 03, 2010 11:18 IST
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US has assured India that it will not let Taliban enter a power-sharing agreement in war-torn Afghanistan taking on board New Delhi's concerns, according to diplomatic cables made public by WikiLeaks.

The assurance was given by Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke to visiting Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao in January this year when she sought US pressure on Pakistan to break its ties with terrorist groups and to permit Afghanistan's economic links with India to grow.

"During the meeting, Holbrooke said that some of the anxiety stems from confusion between reintegration and reconciliation," the cable said.

While Washington appears inclined to do business with the moderate Taliban, India has warned that any such move would have an adverse fallout as there is no "good or bad" Taliban.

The special envoy said the reintegration programme is not a political negotiation designed to give Taliban elements a share in power.

"The US cannot be a party to any such arrangement, in his view, because the Taliban is allied with the Al Qaeda and the social programmes of the Taliban are unpalatable," he said.

Holbrooke also said the Taliban leadership appears to have no interest in talking to the international community in Afghanistan.

"Rao said India needs some deliverables on terrorism before it can engage bilaterally with Pakistan," the cable said.

The US has termed the release of these secret documents as illegal and an act of crime. At the same time, the US has neither denied nor confirmed the authenticity of these cables.

According to a cable, Rao readily agreed to Holbrooke's request for a briefing on Indian training for Afghan security personnel, emphasising that this engagement is completely transparent.

She supported his argument by noting that India had previously provided a detailed briefing on this at the US-India Defence Policy Group meetings. "We have nothing to hide," she said.

"Holbrooke assured Rao that he is in favour of Indian assistance programmes in Afghanistan and is not influenced by what he hears in Islamabad," the cable said.

"Holbrooke also allayed Indian concerns that UNSCR 1267 policy would be altered with respect to Taliban and LET leaders such as Mullah Omar, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, and Hafiz Saeed," it said.