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Weeks after engineers’ abduction, Afghan deputy NSA says will ensure safety of Indians

Afghan deputy NSA Haneef Atmar gave the assurance during a meeting with an Indian delegation led by deputy NSA Rajinder Khanna.

world Updated: May 30, 2018 23:43 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Indian kidnapped in Afghanistan,Indians in Afghanistan,Afghanistan
Deputy NSA Rajinder Khanna with MEA officials and Afghan NSA Hanif Atmar during India-Afghan security meet, in Kabul, Afghanistan on May 30, 2018.(PTI)

Weeks after seven Indians were kidnapped in Afghanistan, the country’s National Security Advisor Haneef Atmar on Wednesday assured a high-level delegation from New Delhi that Afghan authorities will work hard to ensure the security of all Indian citizens.

Atmar gave the assurance during a meeting with the delegation led by deputy national security advisor Rajinder Khanna. The seven Indians, all engineers working on a power project, were kidnapped in northern Baghlan province on May 6.

Without making any reference to the abducted Indians, Atmar tweeted: “We assure you that we will work hard to ensure the security of Indian citizen in Afghanistan.”

He added that the two sides will elevate and expand security cooperation. The two sides discussed the situation in Afghanistan, Atmar’s office told the Afghan media.

During the meeting, Atmar made a presentation on the general security situation in the country.

India “not only believes but also acts on the principle of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned effort for peace and security”, Khanna was quoted as saying by Qadir Shah, the spokesman for the Afghan National Security Council.

Khanna also said India would “stand firm with Afghanistan to fight terrorism and contribute to bringing peace in Afghanistan and in the region”.

India has played a key role in Afghanistan’s reconstruction since the fall of the Taliban regime and has invested more than $2 billion in various projects.

The Indian team’s visit came two days after Atmar and an Afghan delegation travelled to Pakistan for talks. The Afghan side met Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa and foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua.

During the talks, Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed to form several joint working committees to put bilateral relations back on track. The two sides also discussed trade and transit from Central Asia to Pakistan’s Gwadar port, a key part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Afghan officials have said the two countries agreed to take specific steps to speed up the implementation of an action plan for peace and for reducing threats. They also agreed to resume peace negotiations.

Bajwa is expected to visit Kabul in the next few days at the invitation of President Ashraf Ghani.

Afghan officials have constantly accused Pakistan of providing sanctuaries to Taliban leaders to operate against Afghanistan.

First Published: May 30, 2018 23:41 IST