Days after bilateral issue comment, Taliban’s new remarks about Kashmir

Days after bilateral issue comment, Taliban’s new remarks about Kashmir

Taliban have said they have the right to raise their voice for Muslims all across the world, including in Kashmir, amid New Delhi’s concern that Afghanistan territory might be used for anti-India activity under the Islamist hardline group’s regime. “We have this right, being Muslims, to raise our voice for Muslims in Kashmir, India, and any other country,” Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen, according to Geo News. “We will raise our voice and say that Muslims are your own people, your own citizens. They are entitled to equal rights under your laws,” Shaheen told in an interview with BBC Urdu, Geo News reported.

Shaheen, however, added that the group does not have the policy to raise arms against any country. Shaheen remarks are in contrast with the group’s earlier statements on Kashmir as days after taking control of Kabul, the Taliban said Kashmir is a “bilateral and an internal matter”.

On Thursday, the spokesperson of the ministry of external affairs, Arindam Bagchi, said India’s immediate focus in Afghanistan is to ensure that Afghan soil is not used for terrorist activities against it. Bagchi also said that it was still “very early days” to talk about any possible recognition to the Taliban. “That’s not our focus. Our focus is that Afghan soil should not be used for anti-India activities and terrorism of any kind,” Bagchi said during a weekly briefing when asked about India’s engagement with the Taliban and whether it is not a terrorist organisation.

Before that, the Indian ambassador to Qatar Deepak Mittal met senior Taliban leader Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai on Tuesday and conveyed India’s concerns that Afghanistan’s soil should not be used for anti-Indian activities and terrorism.

India is concerned that Afghanistan may become the epicentre of Islamic terrorism amid fears that Sunni and Wahabi terrorist groups will turn the Taliban into their haven. India is expected to increased security in Jammu and Kashmir amid growing concerns over the security situation in the region. “There will be increased security vigil in Kashmir but things are in control and Pakistan based groups in Afghanistan have little capacity to use the situation,” people familiar with the matter told ANI last month.

Last month, a leader of Pakistan’s ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party said that the Taliban would help the country in ‘liberating’ Kashmir from India. “Taliban have said that they are with us and they will help us in [liberating] Kashmir,” PTI leader Neelam Irshad Sheikh said during a television news debate. Before that, Pakistan Prime Minister ImranKhan said Afghans had “broken the shackles of slavery” as he described the Taliban’s seizure of power in the neighbouring country.


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