Oct. 5 - Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, in an address in New Dehli, says a deal with India will not harm Pakistan ties. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai is given a warm welcome in India. In an address in New Dehli he also reached out to Pakistan saying that an economic and security deal with rival India will not harm ties. SOUNDBITE: Afghan President Hamid Karzai, saying: (English): "I say Pakistan is a twin brother. India is a great friend. The agreement that we signed yesterday with our friend would not affect our brother. This is to strengthen Afghanistan. This is to strengthen a brother, Pakistan." Karzai's two-day visit to India comes during rising Afghan anger with Pakistan and Afghan accusations of Pakistani involvement in militant attacks. Many Afghan officials say Pakistan's intelligence agency masterminded the assassination last month of Burhanuddin Rabbani, Kabul's chief peace negotiator with the Taliban. Reflecting on Rabbani's killing, Karzai reiterated that Afghanistan would not be negotiating peace with the Taliban. SOUNDBITE: Afghan President Hamid Karzai, saying: (English): "We are not talking to the Taliban because the messenger that came in the name of the Taliban was not a messenger from the Taliban, it was a suicide bomber that killed president Rabbani. We will wait till the Taliban have an address we can go to and a name that we can identify as a negotiator to talk to." Karzai and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sealed an important agreement on Tuesday that spanned closer political ties to fighting terrorism and included allowing India to help train its police and army. It signals a formal tightening of links that may spark Pakistani concern that India is increasingly competing for leverage in Afghanistan. The visit also comes as Afghanistan's intelligence agency says it thwarted a plot to assassinate Karzai after arresting a bodyguard and five people with links to the Haqqani network and al Qaeda. India is one of Afghanistan's biggest bilateral donors, having pledged about $2 billion since the 2001 U.S led-invasion for projects from the construction of highways to the building of the Afghan parliament. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.