Have right to raise voice for Kashmir Muslims: Taliban
Taliban negotiator Suhail Shaheen (Photo by DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images)
AMID India’s growing concern that the change of guard in Kabul in Afghanistan could jeopardise the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir suspecting that Afghanistan’s soil could be used for anti-India activities, Taliban have said that it has the right to raise voice for Muslims anywhere, including in Kashmir. The extremist group, however, said that it does not follow a policy to raise arms against any nation.
In an interview with BBC Urdu, Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said, “We have this right, being Muslims, to raise our voice for Muslims in Kashmir, India, and any other country.”
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“We will raise our voice and say that Muslims are your own people, your own citizens. They are entitled to equal rights under your laws,” he said, one report said.
Shaheen’s latest words stand in contrast to the Taliban’s earlier statements on Kashmir. Days after returning to power in Kabul in mid-August, the group had said that Kashmir is a “bilateral and internal matter”. Also recently, they said that they were against being dragged into the India-Pakistan tussle.
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Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for India’s ministry of external affairs said on Thursday (2) that New Delhi’s aim is to ensure that Afghanistan’s land is not used for terror activity of any kind.
Earlier this week, Indian ambassador to Qatar Deepak Mittal met senior Taliban leader Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai and conveyed India’s concerns over the same. The meeting was publicly acknowledged.
The ministry said the discussions also included safety, security and early return of the Indian nationals who are still stranded in Afghanistan and the travel of Afghan nationals to India, especially those belonging to the minority communities.
India is wary that Afghanistan might become the epicentre of Islamic terrorism, a first-of-its-kind which has a state. There are also fears that Sunni and Wahabi terror groups will turn the Taliban into their haven.
India is also expected to beef up security in the Jammu and Kashmir region under the current circumstances.
“There will be increased security vigil in Kashmir but things are in control and Pakistan based groups in Afghanistan have little capacity to use the situation,” government sources in India told Asian News International news agency last month.
They also speculate that Pakistani spy agency ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), which shares good relations with the Taliban leadership, will try to influence the Taliban.
However, the Indian establishment is confident that the ISI will not be able to influence the Taliban this time since they are stronger than before.