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Need to ensure extremist forces do not find safe havens: Swaraj

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Underlining that terrorism in Afghanistan has grown in both intensity and scope, India today asked the international community to ensure that extremist forces do not find sanctuaries and safe havens in any “name, form or manifestation”.

Speaking at ‘Heart of Asia’ ministerial conference on Afghanistan, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj asserted that there was a need for continued support of the international community to defend Afghanistan’s unity and security and on its part India was ready to work with Afghan government to strengthen its defence capability.

She also said that terrorists have made concerted efforts to capture and hold territory, reminding that they have not changed.

“It is also the collective duty of all of us to ensure that the forces of terrorism and extremism do not find sanctuaries and safe havens in any name, form or manifestation. We, in Afghanistan’s proximity, have a particular responsibility in this regard,” Swaraj said.

Complimenting Afghan security forces and people of the country for countering forces of terrorism, she said India was ready to work with Afghanistan to strengthen its “defensive capability”.

“In the last few months, terrorism in Afghanistan has grown in both intensity and scope. Terrorists have made concerted efforts to capture and hold territory, reminding us that they have not changed,” Swaraj said.

She said Afghanistan needs support of the international community to defend its unity and security.

“We salute the Afghan National Security Forces and the Afghan people for countering the forces of terrorism and extremism with courage and resilience. They need the continued support of the international community to defend Afghanistan’s unity and security. For its part, India is ready to work with Afghanistan to strengthen its defensive capability,” she said.

“An end to terrorism and extremism, and adherence to internationally accepted redlines are essential for reconciliation and lasting peace in Afghanistan,” she added.