Former CIA Director General (retd) David H Petraeus on Thursday rejected any notion of Indian state-sponsored terrorism, while Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said he was there to talk about facts and not “fantasy scenarios”.
In response to a question from the audience for the Foreign Secretary at the Raisina Dialogue, Petraeus — who was sharing the stage — fielded the question voluntarily and said, “As director of the CIA, and commander of ISAF in Afghanistan, I never once heard the term ‘Indian State-sponsored terrorism’.” His comments were followed by applause.
Jaishankar said, “When I was asked to speak here, I was asked to stick to facts and not fantasy scenarios.”
Earlier in the day, Minister of State for External Affairs Gen V K Singh and Afghanistan’s former President Hamid Karzai hoped that US President Donald Trump would “walk the talk” on his position on Pakistan’s support to terrorists. They were referring to Trump’s tweet on New Year Day, warning Pakistan against supporting terrorists and stopping military aid.
Russia’s Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Igor Morgulov as well as Karzai ruled out a military solution to the Afghan problem, saying the only solution lies in talks with all stakeholders.
Morgulov said Russia is trying its best to find a solution with the help of the government in Kabul. Karzai said a military solution could have been a possibility in the beginning, soon after 2002. “But now, military solution is very, very difficult. It is impossible.”
Morgulov said the problem is that some powers are still allowing landing of foreign fighters in parts of Afghanistan. When asked who are bringing in these fighters, Morgulov said: “We don’t control the airspace in Afghanistan. It is being controlled by NATO forces and Kabul.”
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He said Russia is trying to involve all in the talks, all the neighbours, stakeholders and even the US. But he regretted that the US has not shown willingness to participate in this process.
While Karzai said it is important to engage with Taliban, they disagreed that China will be a problem in finding a solution to the problem as it is very friendly with Pakistan. “China is an enabler. It is well aware of the dangers from terrorists and it will never support it,” they said.
The Russian minister, however, did not see much change in the US policy towards Afghanistan from earlier times.