New Delhi: Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, wrapping up his four-day visit to India, said that India is an extremely valued strategic partner and training of Afghan forces is crucial in the run-up to foreign combat troops being withdrawn by 2014.
During his visit, Mr Karzai reportedly explored prospects of enhancing New Delhi's role in training Afghan security forces after international troops had withdrawn from his country.
"India is a great destination for us, for the training of our military, for the training of our police and for the provision of equipment that India can provide, that is, within the means of India. We are certain that proximity that we have, the centuries of civilizational links that we have, makes it easy for Afghan young officers - man or woman - to come to India and get the best from here. That will be a great contribution in bringing the Afghan Army and police to an institutionalized order which is of the highest importance for us," Mr Karzai told NDTV.
The Afghan President admitted that attacks would continue post 2014, but there was no chance of the Taliban grabbing power again.
"I don't visualise that happening because Afghanistan has advanced... revolutionised massively. There are, as I said, thousands and thousands of Afghans youth who have returned from education abroad and there are tens of thousands who are educating themselves in south Afghanistan. These big cities of Afghanistan has transformed like never before. We have built more roads and more reconstruction and development has taken place in Afghanistan, in the past 10 years, in the whole of our history. So, an obscurantist mindset's return to Afghanistan to take power is absolutely a thing of the past and will not happen. Hence, a sense of insecurity will still continue. There will be bomb blasts, there will be incidents like that, that we have in our whole region. But that will not be a hindrance to the progress of Afghanistan or to the continuation of the democratic rule in Afghanistan," Mr Karzai said.
Mr Karzai's visit came at a time when a resurgent Taliban escalated violence across Afghanistan, including in Bamiyan, which was widely seen as the most peaceful region of the country.
The Afghanistan President also opened up about his family; Mr Karzai talked about his daughter who is named after a legendary Afghan folk hero, Malala of Maiwand. He said he hoped his seven-month-old daughter would live up to another Malala Yousafzai - the Pakistani girl recovering in a UK hospital after being shot by the Taliban.
"Now there are two Malalas - one is Malala of Maiwand and Malala Yousafzai who was attacked for her seeking education. So I hope my daughter too we will be one of the Malalas who will be educated and also seeking education for women," Mr Karzai said.
Mr Karzai met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and business leaders of the country during his visit and signed various agreements, inviting India Inc to invest in Afghanistan. Mr Karzai promised business leaders a "red carpet" welcome.
The two leaders also reviewed progress in the implementation of the Strategic Partnership Agreement during the past year and reaffirmed their commitment to deepen the cooperation in accordance with the vision outlined in the agreement.
Ahead of Karzai's visit, the Indian government cleared another tranche of development aid to the tune of Rs 540 crore to be given to the war-torn country where such help has earlier directly benefited the local communities.
The aid was under the third phase of the Small Development Projects (SDP) to be implemented across all the 34 provinces of Afghanistan.