Afghan envoy meets Army chief Gen. Naravane, discusses bilateral defence cooperation

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New Delhi, Apr 21 (PTI) As the US prepares to pull out its troops from Afghanistan after two decades of stay, India has assured the war-ravaged country of its continued support, particularly to the Afghan security forces, people familiar with the development said.

The issue figured prominently at a meeting between Afghan Ambassador to India Farid Mamundzay and Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane on Wednesday, they said.

Mamundzay and Gen. Naravane discussed bilateral defence cooperation, particularly capacity building and India's medical support to treat the injured Afghan security personnel.

India promised continuation of its support to the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF), said one of the people cited above.

'The Afghan National Defence & Security Forces have developed great capacity & strength over the past 20 years,' Mamundzay wrote on Twitter.

'ANDSF still require timely support to further build a professional, capable & self-sustaining security forces. Thank you #India & COAS Gen. Naravane for supporting #ANDSF,' he said.

In a significant announcement, US President Biden on Wednesday said the American troops will leave Afghanistan by September 11, which would coincide with the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States.

The US has lost more than 2,000 personnel in the war triggered by the terror strikes carried out by the al-Qaeda in 2001.

The US announcement has resulted in hectic consultations among the key stakeholders about the Afghan peace process.

On Saturday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar conveyed to his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Hanif Atmar that India will always stand with the people of Afghanistan.

Following the telephonic conversation, Jaishankar said the role of neighbours in the Afghan peace process figured in his conversation with Atmar.

There have been renewed global efforts to bring lasting peace to Afghanistan. Russia recently organised a conference in Moscow, where all major stakeholders were invited to brainstorm over ways to move forward in the peace process.

India has been a major stakeholder in the peace and stability of Afghanistan. It has already invested USD two billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country.

India has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process that is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled. PTI MPB RC