New Delhi, Nov 16 IANS | 2 years ago

The murder of Indian author Sushmita Banerjee in Afghanistan was "definitely the work of the enemy" of the friendly ties between New Delhi and Kabul, the Afghan envoy said here Saturday in that country's first public reaction to the killing.

During a talk at the Press Club of India, Afghan Ambassador Shaida M. Abdali said he was "very saddened" by the Sep 5 killing in which "no real Afghan" would have been involved.

India had said Pakistani Taliban militants had come from beyond Afghanistan's border to murder the Bengali author in Afghanistan's Paktika province.

"No real Afghan would kill. There were conflicting reports about some family issues. The investigation is on," Abdali said.

He said India should not look askance at the killing.

"What we should concentrate on is that India should not look at the killing, a killing that could take place on a soil that has so much love for (India). Definitely, it would be the work of the enemy of the two countries, and that is exactly something that we have been trying to stop," said the ambassador.

"A party that does not want the good relationship (between India and Afghanistan) to remain, and that we are trying to stop," he said.

India has said that the plan to kill Banerjee was "hatched in Pakistan" and that three militants who worked with Akbar Musafir, the local commander of the Afghan Taliban in Paktika, were involved in the killing.

Abdali also gave reassurances about his country looking after its Sikh and Hindu minorities.

"Afghanistan will only be complete as a nation if it has all its segments of society, including its Sikhs and Hindus," he said.

He rued that thousands of Hindus and Sikhs have had to flee due to Taliban pressure, saying "there was a design in that".

He said the single seat in the Afghan parliament reserved for its Hindu and Sikh minorities was "an example of how the parliament respects Hindus and Sikhs".

Abdali said the special quota "will not be taken away by anyone", and hoped Afghanistan would see the return of Sikhs and Hindus.

(Posted on 16-11-2013)