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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Taliban danger to humanity: Pranab Mukherjee

PTI  New Delhi, February 17, 2009
First Published: 22:30 IST(17/2/2009) | Last Updated: 22:31 IST(17/2/2009)

Reflecting India's unease over Pakistan's peace deal with Taliban in Swat, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday night said the fundamentalist terror outfit is a "danger to humanity and civilisation".

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Speaking to reporters in New Delhi, Mukherjee said, "The fact of the matter is that Taliban is a terrorist organisation. Taliban believes in nothing but destruction and violence."

He was responding when asked to comment on the peace deal between Pakistan government and Taliban in Swat region, under which Islamabad has virtually surrendered its powers.

"In my assessment, Taliban is a danger to humanity and civilisation," the External Affairs Minister underlined, echoing the views of Richard Holbrooke, US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Holbrooke yesterday said Taliban operating out of Pakistan are a "common" and direct threat to India, the US and Pakistan.

Mukherjee's comments came amid an unease in New Delhi over the peace agreement between Pakistan government and Taliban as India apprehends a spillover effect.

Under the deal, Pakistani military would cease operations against the militia which will also be allowed to impose sharia laws in the region.

Convinced that Taliban cannot be divided into 'good Taliban and bad Taliban', New Delhi feels that the deal would give the fundamentalist outfit further encouragement.

Besides, New Delhi feels, easing of pressure will enable the Taliban to increase threat to the region, including India.

"We are watching the developments," an official of the Ministry of External Affairs said.

Crucially, Pakistan's peace deal comes close on the heels of President Asif Ali Zardari talking about the danger of Taliban taking over entire Pakistan as their influence is expanding fast.

He, in fact, said that Pakistan was fighting for its survival against Taliban.


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