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Indian presence not against Pak: Karzai

world Updated: Jun 12, 2011 23:02 IST
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Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said the Indian presence in his country cannot be in any way used against Pakistan, which should be happy that Afghanistan is being “tremendously” helped by another neighbour.

“The Indian presence in Afghanistan... cannot be in any manner used against Pakistan,” Karzai said in an interview to state-run PTV.

India, being an old friend of Afghanistan, was helping it “tremendously and providing financial assistance,” he said.

“Pakistan should feel happy that Afghanistan is being helped by another neighbour,” Karzai said.

At the same time, he pointed out that Pakistan is a “conjoined twin and brother” of Afghanistan.

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

Responding to a question, he agreed that contrary to the situation during the regime of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have improved a lot after the PPP-led government came to power.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s recent visit to Afghanistan was “very important” as the two countries had then agreed to establish the bilateral peace commission, he noted.

CIA chief leaves Pak without deal

CIA chief Leon Panetta has left Pakistan without reaching a deal on resetting the troubled relationship with ISI during meetings with the country's top military leaders.

Panetta, who arrived on an unscheduled visit on Friday, did not meet anyone other than army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI head Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the Dawn newspaper reported on Sunday.

The CIA chief’s departure on Saturday without routine calls on President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was seen by observers as a sign of the stalemate in his discussions with the military leadership.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have enormous potential and opportunities for trade and economic cooperation and this could be done through bilateral and regional engagements involving the Central Asian states, he said.

Asked about Kabul’s relations with Tehran, Karzai said his country has been very clear with the US that “there is no way that Afghanistan cannot have a relationship with” Iran. Afghanistan has a 900-km border with Iran and the two countries share linguistic, cultural and religious links, he said.