Zalmai Rassoul the 68 year old Afghanistan Foreign Minister has met for the first time with his Indian counterpart, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna where wide-ranging talks were held. The meeting took place at the India-Afghanistan Partnership Council, set up during the visit of Afghan President Hamid Karzai under the first bilateral strategic pact Afghanistan has signed with any other country. India has concerns with the safety of nearly 4,000 of its nationals living in Afghanistan along with its missions and facilities. Rassoul stated at a joint press conference after the talks, “With India, we are not only willing to discuss the training of our officers, but also equipping of security forces. Security organisations of the two countries are in discussion.” The nature of the Indian assistance to Afghanistan has not been specified, although India is involved in the training of the Afghan National Army. Krishna stated at the press conference “We have always reacted positively to any suggestions from Afghanistan” and has pledged $2 billion for reconstruction activities. India is obviously keen for security of its strategic neighbour which its foe Pakistan tended to regard as its own backyard, as the time runs down for the withdrawal of the international coalition force.


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