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European Parliament praises India for its contribution to rebuild Afghanistan

ANI | Updated: Dec 19, 2017 08:01 IST

Brussels [Belgium], Dec.19 (ANI): The European Parliament in a resolution on the situation in c has praised India for the use of `soft power' in rebuilding that war-ravaged nation since the Taliban government was ousted in 2001.

In its report, the EP said, "The Republic of India is the largest regional donor to Afghanistan, providing some USD 3 billion in assistance since the Taliban Government was ousted in 2001".

It added, "this assistance has funded, among other things, the building of more than 200 schools in Afghanistan, over 1 000 scholarships for Afghan students, and the possibility for roughly 16 000 Afghans to study in India".

"India has also provided assistance in the construction of critical infrastructure, such as around 4 000 km of roadways in Afghanistan, most notably the Zaranj-Dilaram Highway, the Salma Dam and electricity transmission lines and the Afghan parliament building," said the European Parliament in its resolution of 14 December 2017.

The European Parliament believes India is the regional partner to help maintain peace and development in Afghanistan, a country facing decades' long conflict.

It warns that the poor capabilities of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) and National Police Force remain one of the most critical issues compromising Afghanistan's security and reconstruction.

It welcomes the continued EU focus on the enhancement of the role and rights of Afghan women and recognises the need to train female police officers.

In its resolution, the EP "welcomes the Republic of India's commitment to assisting Afghanistan with the provision of defence hardware to the Afghan military in December 2015 and the military training of thousands of Afghan security personnel, which significantly helped to enhance its military capability, in accordance with the objective of NATO-led mission 'Resolute Support' to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces and institutions.

The European Parliament also mentioned about the new U.S. strategy for Afghanistan under which an additional 4,000 soldiers will join the existing U.S. contingent of 8,400 soldiers.

It said, "The new US strategy demands that Pakistan stop harbouring and supporting terrorists and calls for greater involvement by the Republic of India in helping to stabilise the region".

The EP also raised concern over growing number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Afghanistan as their figure crosses 1.8 million. Many Afghans from neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are also returning back.

The resolution said, Afghanistan is facing an unprecedented increase in returns of documented and undocumented Afghan nationals, mainly from Pakistan; whereas around two million undocumented Afghans and one million Afghans with refugee status are living in Iran and returning to Afghanistan". (ANI)