New York: As Afghanistan gears up to have its fourth Presidential elections in September this year, India has reiterated its support for an "Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled" inclusive peace and reconciliation process in the war-torn country.
India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin speaking at an open debate on the situation in Afghanistan at United Nations Security Council said on Wednesday that India stands committed to support the peace process, which promotes and protects unity, sovereignty, democracy, inclusiveness and prosperity of the country.
Akbaruddin said that while the country may be perceived as a "threat of transnational terrorism," it is the people of Afghanistan who have long been its victims.
"While there may be perceptions of threats of transnational terrorism from Afghanistan, in reality, it is the Afghan people who have been, for long, victims of transnational terrorism," said Akbaruddin.
Afghanistan is suffering from an unstable political, social, and security situation due to the activities of the various terrorist organisation, including the Taliban and the Islamic State (IS). In his address, Akbaruddin stressed that the "sanctuaries and safe havens provided to" these terror networks need to be addressed for genuine and sustainable peace in the region.
"As the way forward is chalked out, we cannot ignore that groups enjoying the support and safe havens carry out violent and terrorist activities from across borders. They cannot be allowed to negotiate from a place of advantage," said Akbaruddin
"The sanctuaries and safe havens provided to terror networks have to be addressed for genuine and sustainable peace. The terrorist activities of the Taliban, Haqqani Network, Da'esh, as well as Al Qaeda and its proscribed affiliates, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, need to end," he added.
The war-torn nation is scheduled to undergo three elections--presidential, the provincial councils and the Ghazni parliamentary elections--simultaneously on September 28.
"By all accounts, this is a crucial year for Afghanistan. While Afghanistan gears up to have its fourth Presidential elections later this year, all of us need to be mindful of the gains that the Afghan people have made in the last 18 years.
"They have strengthened democracy in their country; established a constitutional order; uplifted the status of women; protected the status of minorities and youth; built a strong army and sturdy security forces, and created stronger regional links.
The Ambassador stressed that India will continue to assist the people of Afghanistan in "fulfilling their desire for a peaceful country, which can focus on development and build on the gains in their journey towards greater prosperity and higher achievements"
"The conduct of transparent, credible and timely Presidential elections during the year will assist in this endeavour," he said.
Akbaruddin referred to the concluding communique of the Loya Jirga, convened by President Ghani on April 29, which called amongst other things for a ceasefire, talks without pre-conditions, a Taliban office to be opened in Afghanistan, a responsible withdrawal of international forces, the formation of an inclusive negotiating team, continued support from the international community, and the preservation of human rights, particularly women's rights.
"These provisions, agreed to by the Afghan people, have been long-standing and are supported strongly by several countries in the region," he said....