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    Manmohan Singh arrives in Kabul on 2-day visit

    Kabul: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday arrived in Kabul on a two-day visit to Afghanistan during which he will discuss terrorism, regional development and ways to step up India's assistance to the war-torn country.

    Singh was received at Kabul airport by Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmay Rasoul and Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak and other senior officials.

    National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and Prime Minister's special envoy to Afghanistan Satinder Lamba and other senior officials are accompanying Singh, who is visiting the war-ravaged nation after six years.

    Singh will meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai later in the day. He will address the Afghan Parliament on Friday.

    Ahead of his visit, the Prime Minister had emphasised that his discussions with President Karzai will cover regional developments and the fight against terrorism. The visit will also deliver "tangible" results with India to discuss ways to advance its developmental partnership with Afghanistan to a new level in the coming years.

    There are indications that India will step-up its assistance for various developmental projects which already cover almost two-third of the provinces in Afghanistan.

    While India is carrying out various developmental projects in Afghanistan, security still remains a big concern for Indian interests and other establishments.

    Indian government sources pointed out that several Indian private companies have shown interest in iron ore mining and said Afghanistan has also conveyed that it welcomes their participation and assured it that they will do their best to provide security.

    Noting that instability and extremism in Afghanistan affect India's progress and development and pose a danger to the country's security, the sources said that during the meeting with the Afghan leadership, India would also like to know the views of the government there on the situation after the killing of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

    "Obviously, the situation post-killing of Osama is something of concern to all of us and we would also like to hear what President Karzai has to say about it," they said, while maintaining that India's concerns over reconciliation with Taliban have not "gone away" with bin Laden's death.