President George W. Bush says the United States is "encouraging India to work directly with other nations that will benefit from India's experience of building a multiethnic democracy that respects the rights of religious minorities." Mr. Bush says Afghanistan is one of those nations:
"India's work in Afghanistan is a good example of India's commitment to emerging democracies. India has pledged five-hundred-sixty-five million dollars to help the Afghan people repair the infrastructure and get back on their feet."
India is helping Afghanistan build roads, hospitals, and government buildings. Indian-donated Tata buses are a key part of Kabul's public transportation system. India is making important contributions to Afghan education, including rebuilding Habibia High School in Kabul. President Bush says India is helping Afghanistan establish democratic institutions:
"Recently, India announced it would provide an additional fifty million dollars to help Afghans complete their national assembly building. India has trained national assembly staff, and it's developing a similar program for the assembly's elected leaders."
David Mulford is the U.S. Ambassador to India. In a recent article in The Times of India newspaper, Mr. Mulford said, "India's role in supporting the Afghan people on this path to democracy has been critical, providing needed supplies and training to ensure the successful conduct of the 2004 and 2005 election." Mr. Mulford said that "the United States remains firmly committed to building a stable and peaceful environment for the Afghan people to live their lives free of terrorism."
Masood Khalili served until recently as Afghanistan's ambassador to India. He recently told an Indian online newspaper that Afghans are grateful for the U.S. presence. "Al Qaida was there [and] the Taleban was there. It was hell in Afghanistan," he said. "Was it in our interest that they [the Americans] help the Afghan people? Yes," said Mr. Khalili.
President Bush says India and the U.S. have a stake in freeing Afghanistan from terror:
"The people of America and India understand that a key part of defeating the terrorists is to replace their ideology of hatred with an ideology of hope."
That is why, says Mr. Bush, the U.S. and India "will continue to work together to advance the cause of liberty."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.