Taliban not ‘normal civilians’ by any standard: Afghan envoy on Imran Khan’s remark
- The Afghan envoy was responding to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s comment in which he had defended his inability to stop terrorists from crossing over the border.
Afghan ambassador to India Farid Mamundzay on Friday said the Taliban are not “normal civilians” by any standard as common people are not cruel to humankind. The Afghan envoy was responding to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s comment in which he had defended his inability to stop terrorists from crossing over the border.
In an interview with PBS NewsHour, Khan had said that Pakistan hosts three million Afghan refugees of which the majority are Pashtuns, the same ethnic groups as the Taliban fighters. He added that the Taliban are “normal civilians” and “not some military outfits” that Pakistan can hunt down in those refugee camps.
“I think with no standards we can call the Taliban, ordinary citizens. I think common people don’t commit crimes that are justified. They'll not be cruel to humankind,” news agency ANI quoted Mamundzay as saying.
Pakistan has long been accused of helping the Islamic fundamentalist group militarily, financially, and with intelligence in their fight against Afghan defence forces. About 6,000 terrorists of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are operating on the Afghan side of the border, according to a report by the UN Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team.
The Taliban fighters, meanwhile, have been making rapid advances in Afghanistan as the US troops are nearing their final withdrawal. China has been wary of Afghanistan becoming a hub for the al-Qaeda-backed East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) if the Taliban takes control of the country. Earlier this week, China’s state councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi met a visiting Taliban delegation in Beijing.
Wang called the Taliban a “critical military and political force” in Afghanistan, urging the group to crack down on the ETIM, a separatist outfit Beijing alleges of waging an insurgency in Xinjiang province. The Afghan envoy said that China has also suffered from terrorism and would continue to suffer if terrorist groups remain operational in Afghanistan, reported ANI.
“We want all countries in the region, particularly major countries like China and India to give strong msg to Taliban,” Mamundzay added.
The Afghan envoy also denied any talks with India regarding military assistance, saying they are receiving sufficient support from the United States and several Nato member states.
(With ANI inputs)