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Case-by-case rehab for Taliban

India is confident that Pakistani hopes that the international conference in Kabul on July 20 will endorse the wholesale rehabilitation of the Taliban have been thwarted. Pramit Pal Chaudhuri

delhi Updated: Jul 19, 2010 00:19 IST
Pramit Pal Chaudhuri

India is confident that Pakistani hopes that the international conference in Kabul on July 20 will endorse the wholesale rehabilitation of the Taliban have been thwarted.

The conference's draft communiqué, in paragraph 27, allows for such rehabilitation but only "case by case" and on "the basis of clear evidence."

Crucially, only those "senior Taliban not implicated in acts of terrorism targeting the international community or the Afghan public" will be considered for removal from the UN Security Council terrorism blacklist.

The United Nations had earlier consulted India and other key international players about the wording.

New Delhi and Moscow had taken the toughest stance, insisting rehabilitation be open only to individuals and not the Taliban organisation as a whole. Russia had insisted red lines be marked out well beforehand.

Britain, desperate to withdraw from the Afghan conflict, had represented the other end of the spectrum and told the UN to not place any barriers to rehabilitation - broadly the position of Pakistan. The hardline prevailed, even with Washington.

New Delhi has also been unconcerned at Afghan President Hamid Karzai's recent request that the UN drop 10 former Afghan militants from its blacklist. All of these, including the former Taliban education minister Mullah Arsala Rahmani, are actually allies of ex-mujahideen leader Gulbuddin Hikmatyar. The Afghan Taliban have publicly said such militants are not part of their group.

Indian officials say New Delhi has no problem with individuals being rehabilitated, but opposes a clean chit being given to the Taliban. Individuals who have continued terrorist activity should also be outside the pale.

"A Jalaluddin Haqqani is out of the question," said one.

Haqqani, a Taliban leader, is implicated in the spate of attacks on Indian targets in Afghanistan.