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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Taliban: we have right to raise voice for Muslims in Kashmir

Taliban's position on Kashmir though fairly innocent and principled might disturb India that having lost all influence in Kabul is looking for closer relations with the new Taliban rulers of Afghanistan. Some analysts argue that India may be among first countries to recognise the Taliban Govt.

Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen remarked in an interview with BBC that “We have this right, being Muslims, to raise our voice for Muslims in Kashmir, India, and any other country…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,”

Read More: Afghanistan: Taliban-led government just around the corner

It remains to be seen if Shaheen’s remarks will provide New Delhi an excuse to react. Though Shaheen is only arguing that we have a right to raise our voice for the rights of Kashmiri Muslims but for New Delhi and western media outlets this might still appear different from earlier statements made by the Taliban.

Afghan Taliban have made it clear that they will not allow any one to use Afghan soil against third countries, and the Kashmir issue was referred to as a “bilateral matter. In an interview with CNN News18, Haqqani said, “Kashmir is not part of our jurisdiction and interference is against the policy. How can we do against our policy?”

Will India be among the first countries to recognise Taliban govt? 

Interestingly, these remarks come after the Taliban meeting with the Indian diplomatic personnel in Doha. The talks focused on the safety, security and evacuation process of Indian nationals and Afghan nationals.

India is very eager to court Afghan Taliban. Given its almost 30 years long position against Taliban, it now has very limited access and influence inside the changed Afghanistan where Taliban appear to be controlling power dynamics for the foreseeable future. In Pakistani TV discussions (Hard Talk, September 2) prominent defence and strategic analyst, Gen. Ghulam Mustafa, while talking with anchor Dr. Moeed Pirzada, argued that New Delhi might surprise the world by becoming one of the first countries to recognise Taliban led Afghanistan.

Given overt hostility of Indian media and politics towards Taliban this looks unlikely. But then needs of real politic continue to surprise the world. Who could have imagined only a few weeks ago that Taliban fighters will be defending US soldiers from ISIS attacks as it happened at the Hamid Karzai airport in the last week of August – where 27 Taliban soldiers died as they stood providing external security perimeter to the US led evacuation process.

Shaheen, however, added that the group does not have the policy to raise arms against any country. Technically, the Taliban have raised this issue over Human Rights abuses that Indian occupied Kashmir suffers from. How this will be taken by regional countries is yet to be seen. Although these statements have raised concern all across India.

The Taliban are however adamant that their soil will not be used against any country. In an interview with Geo News “Naya Pakistan”, Shaheen asserted that the United States will “have no right to attack” Afghanistan after August 31, when the withdrawal of its troops is complete. He stated that consent or no consent, no US attacks will be welcomed under their regime. He was referring to the recent drone strikes made by the US inside Kabul after the suicide bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport in which more than 100 people died including 13 US marines and 27 Taliban soldiers. 

Read More: China to keep embassy in Afghanistan and provide aid, Taliban spokesman