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Kashmir decision may complicate negotiations in Afghanistan

The Afghan government has been keeping a close watch on developments in Kashmir against the backdrop of reports that Pakistan-backed terror groups could step up attacks against “pro-India voices” and liberal elements.

india Updated: Aug 05, 2019 23:48 IST

Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Security personnel check vehicles after the revoking of Article 370 from the Jammu and Kashmir, in Srinagar on Monday.
Security personnel check vehicles after the revoking of Article 370 from the Jammu and Kashmir, in Srinagar on Monday. (ANI Photo)
         

India’s decision to effectively revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir could complicate fraught negotiations to end the conflict in Afghanistan and trigger attacks by Pakistan-backed terrorists on Indian interests, people familiar with matter said on Monday.

The Afghan government has been keeping a close watch on developments in Kashmir against the backdrop of reports that Pakistan-backed terror groups could step up attacks against “pro-India voices” and liberal elements favouring the retention of human rights enshrined since the ouster of Taliban in 2001, the people said.

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“The developments in Kashmir could impact the situation in Afghanistan as Pakistan will try to up the ante,” said a member of the diplomatic community who declined to be named.

“There are already reports that pro-India and anti-Taliban elements could be targeted along with Indian interests in Afghanistan,” said the person, referring to the recent attempt by terrorists to kill Amrullah Saleh, the former Afghan spy chief and a running mate of President Asraf Ghani in the presidential elections scheduled for September. Though no group claimed responsibility for the attack, the finger of blame has been pointed at the Taliban. Saleh, a vocal critic of the Taliban, favours strong security ties with India.

A senior Indian official, requesting anonymity, did not rule out the possibility of Pakistan using terror groups with links to its security establishment to step up violence in Afghanistan.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special representative for Afghan reconciliation who is engaged in talks with the Taliban in Qatar, tweeted that he would travel to India on Monday for what he said were “pre-scheduled meetings to further build international consensus in support of the #AfghanPeaceProcess”. There have been reports in recent weeks that Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed have sent cadres to Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban. These reports have been accompanied by intelligence alerts about the two banned groups targeting Indian interests.

First Published: Aug 05, 2019 23:48 IST