US rejects Taliban’s claim on India

WASHINGTON: The US has rejected Taliban’s claim that India resisted Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s call for greater involvement in Afghanistan, saying his recent visit to New Delhi was “very successful”.

“I did not hear the word no from the Indians on any specific list. To my knowledge no specific list was presented,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters during news conference yesterday.

He was responding to questions on the unusual statement made by Taliban over the weekend in which the militant outfit praised India for resisting Panetta’s reported call for greater Indian involvement in Afghanistan during his visit to New Delhi early this month.

“I am not going to respond directly to the Taliban statement, but let me make it very clear that we had very productive conversations with our Indian partners about the future of strategic partnership with India, about closer military to military co-operation with Indians,” Little said.

“And we signaled very clearly, Secretary made it very clear that India has a very important role to play in regional security to include in the transition in Afghanistan. We look forward to working with the Indians. We made that very clear as well. I would put this in the category of a very successful visit,” he said.

“The Indians have been training Afghan forces. We are very grateful of their contribution to that effort,” he said.

Taliban had claimed that Panetta encouraged India to take a more active role in Afghanistan as most foreign combat troops leave the country in 2014, but he failed to “gain any success or progress in his efforts.” -PTI

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