Taliban playing good cop, bad cop: Experts on Kashmir comment
A recent statement by the Taliban on non-interference in internal matters of other countries (with reference to Kashmir) is being seen as a tactical one ahead of intra-Afghan dialogue.
“In my personal view, they are playing good cop, bad cop. Taliban want to cut the support base of the Ghani government ahead of the intra-Afghanistan dialogue and want to demoralise Ghani government by opening some sort of dialogue with India which has kept a distance from any talks with Taliban,” Tilak Deveshwar, a member of National Security Advisory Board, told news agency ANI.
“No surprise, if the Taliban want to engage with India. This kind of overture is logical. They would like to assuage India’s concern over Kashmir, which in turn brings Pakistan into the picture,” said Uday Bhaskar, Director, Society of Policy Studies.
“It appears that one group within Taliban, more moderate, malleable is seeking to create a kind of tentative political space to encourage Delhi to engage with a group that I am afraid is synonymous with terrorism,” added Bhaskar.
So far, India has stayed away from dialogue with the Taliban. US Special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad also recently urged India to open direct talks with the Taliban.
“Moot point is the way the Taliban played a double game with the international community, it’s playing same with India. They are trying to manufacture a narrative that they are a reasonable face which is Afghan-based and will not interfere in the internal affair of any country. However, to believe that the Taliban have severed all ties with Al Qaeda and ISIS will be delusional,” said Sushant Sareen, Senior Fellow at think tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
Last week, the Taliban had denied claims on social media that it could join Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir, underlining that the Taliban was clear that it “does not interfere in internal affairs of other countries”.
“The statement published in the media about Taaliban joining Jihad in Kashmir is wrong…. The policy of the Islamic Emirate is clear that it does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.” Suhail Shaheen, the spokesperson for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as the political wing of Taliban calls itself, tweeted last Monday.
The strong clarification came a day after officials monitoring social media noted a spike in posts around claims that a Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid had said it was impossible to be friends with India unless the Kashmir issue is resolved. The spokesperson was also claimed to have said that the Taliban would, after capturing power in Kabul, “capture Kashmir from infidels also”.