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Bonn conference on Afghanistan opens today

Dec 05, 2011 08:09 AM IST India India

New Delhi: The Bonn Conference on Afghanistan opens on Monday with 90 delegations and nearly 1000 participants in attendance. The focus is squarely on security, reconciliation and long term help for Afghanistan.

However, Pakistan's decision to boycott after the NATO airstrike on its army camps means there's no voice for the Taliban.

The conference is also slated to underscore the strained nature of the Kabul-Islamabad relationship.

Earlier, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai accused Islamabad of refusing to facilitate reconciliation with the Taliban.

In an interview to Der Spiegel magazine he also warned, "Afghanistan will certainly need help for another 10 years. We will need training for our own troops. We will need equipment for the army and police and help to set up state institutions. If we lose this fight, we are threatened with a return to a situation like that before September 11, 2001."

His foreign minister, Zalmay Rassul, was, however, more hopeful.

"International community, as far as I know, will not leave us alone. All these partnerships, post 2014, are to reassure the Afghan people that they are going to continue to have the privilege of achievements that we had together. But we are also going to strengthen this partnership in the future," said Rassul.

India goes into the conference as the only country with which Afghanistan has a strategic partnership agreement. But India will be looking for support from the region for an Afghan-led reconciliation and peace process.

While Russia appears to broadly support India's views, Iran wants foreign forces out at the earliest. China is still to open its cards.