Internal, bilateral: Taliban 'clarify' position on Kashmir

By | Written by Avik Roy, New Delhi
Aug 17, 2021 06:47 PM IST

Pakistan-based terror groups Lashkar-e-Taiba have a presence in Afghanistan and are known to have built checkpoints in certain areas with the help of the Taliban.

In an apparent clarification of their stance on Kashmir, days after taking over Kabul in a literal powershift of governance in Afghanistan, the Taliban called it a "bilateral and an internal matter", news agency ANI posted on Twitter quoting people familiar with the development.

A Taliban fighter holds a rocket propelled grenade as he stands guard at an entrance gate outside the interior ministry in Kabul on Tuesday.(Javed Tanveer / AFP)
A Taliban fighter holds a rocket propelled grenade as he stands guard at an entrance gate outside the interior ministry in Kabul on Tuesday.(Javed Tanveer / AFP)

The Taliban is unlikely to focus on Kashmir, the news agency reported attributing it to the official.

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Amid concerns over increased militancy in Kashmir, the official said that security in the Valley have been increased and Pakistan-based groups in Afghanistan have little capacity to use the evolving situation in the war-torn nation.

"There are security concerns that #Afghanistan might become the first epicenter of Islamic terrorism which has a state, they have access to all the weapons which Americans have supplied and also the weapons of 3 lakh plus Afghan National Army personnel," ANI tweeted, quoting the official.

Those familiar with the fast-changing situation in Afghanistan said Pakistan-based terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi have a presence in Afghanistan and they are known to have built checkpoints in some villages and parts of Kabul, with the help of the Taliban.

"In the past, there were camps of Pakistani outfits in Afghanistan. So we have to be careful in Jammu & Kashmir," the official told the news agency.

Concerns have been raised over the possibility of Pakistani spy agency ISI trying to influence the Taliban. However, the official said such a move by Pakistan is likely to have a very limited effect as the Taliban acquired power in a "position of strength".

"The ISI can only influence weak Taliban but it looks unlikely in the present situation," the official said.

Afghanistan's takeover by the Taliban, which security experts say would not have been possible without the direct help from Pakistan, complicates the security situation in India's northern and north-western borders.

A former Indian foreign secretary said last week that the Taliban establishing its emirate in Afghanistan after the fall of Kabul would not only give "strategic space to Pakistan but also trained terrorist cadre to target their adversaries."

Pakistan seldom shied away from expressing its support to the Taliban. On Monday, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said Afghans has "broken the shackles of slavery" in response to the Taliban takeover.

In fact, a US Congressman urged President Joe Biden to impose sanctions on Pakistan amid accusations that Islamabad covertly assisted the Taliban and dictating the the insurgent group with its military strategy.

"At the least, Pakistan is complicit with the Taliban advance and is choosing not to coordinate with the ANSF (Afghan National Security Force). At worst, the Pakistani military and intelligence services may be directly aiding the Taliban offensive," Republican lawmaker Mike Waltz said as he urged the Biden Administration to cut off aid to Pakistan.

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