EAM Krishna: India has “no plan to scale down” its activities in Afghanistan; US Ambassador Roemer: India’s role in Afghanistan “very critical”; US officials: Interrogation of Mullah Baradar yielding useful intelligence;
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  • EAM S.M. Krishna, speaking in the Indian Parliament on April 21 reaffirmed India's commitment to rebuild Afghanistan despite recent attacks on Indians and added that New Delhi had “no plan to scale down” its activities. 17 Indians have been killed in Afghanistan so far, including nine in 2008, one in 2009 and seven in 2010.1

    US Ambassador Timothy Roemer stated that India’s role in Afghanistan was “very critical” and that the US was looking at “additional” ways to increase the country’s role in Afghanistan. He added that India’s role “has been a great success …” Mr. Roemer is expected to visit Afghanistan soon and will also have a first hand experience of India’s successful developmental projects.2

    US officials indicated that joint interrogation of captured Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar by US and Pakistani officials was yielding useful intelligence. Mullah Baradar, along with six other leaders of the Afghan Taliban leadership council, was captured in Quetta, Pakistan in February 2010. The Taliban threatened to kill three hostages, including a British filmmaker and two former Pakistani intelligence officials if Baradar is not released.3

    NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, after a two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Tallinn, Estonia on April 23 indicated that NATO members had adopted a framework for turning over security responsibilities to the Afghan government.4

    Reports meanwhile noted that a ‘peace jirga’ to establish a framework for negotiations with the Taliban would be delayed until after President Karzai’s visit to US in May. The jirga, involving more than 1,000 government officials, tribal elders and other Afghan leaders, was originally expected to start on May 2.5

    In other developments, President Karzai strongly condemned the reported death of four civilians when NATO troops opened fire on a vehicle in southeast Afghanistan.6 The Deputy Mayor of Kandahar Azizullah Yarmal was gunned down on April 19 when he was offering prayers in a mosque. An earthquake of 5.3 magnitude intensity hit central Afghanistan on April 19, killing at least seven people and wounding more than 30.7