Taliban ready to accept Kashmir as India’s Internal Affair

Square

The Taliban has reinforced its intent to engage with India by nudging its readiness to accept Kashmir as India’s internal affair amid a new round of international diplomacy to encourage a broad-based political settlement in Afghanistan.

‘The policy of the Islamic Emirate is clear that it does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries,’ Suhail Shaheen, Taliban spokesperson in Doha, affirmed in a tweet

New political reality

The emergence of a new political reality in Afghanistan is tied with the phased withdrawal of U.S. troops, which had been deployed in the backdrop of the 9/11 bombing of the twin towers by Al-Qaeda, in New York. Mr. Khalilzad, the face of the new round of U.S. diplomatic heavy lifting in Afghanistan, is back in Kabul this week for talks with the Afghan government, after a new round of negotiations with the Taliban in Doha, Mr. Ghani’s office confirmed on Wednesday.

Regarding possible India-Taliban talks, Mr. Stobdan said it was important to recognise and evaluate the weight of various factions within the Taliban and their foreign allegiances, which are seldom static. “India has to be wary of the role of Pakistan’s key asset, the Haqqani network, which is the main conduit for recruiting foreign fighters, led by Sirajudin Haqqani, whose influence in the Taliban is significant,” he observed. But the former diplomat added that Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the head of the Hizb-e-Islami, a one-time favourite of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), has stepped out of line.

As the new government began to take shape in Kabul earlier this week, Fazl Hadi Wazin, Mr. Hekmatyar’s deputy, asserted that the government being formed in Kabul “needs to be ‘truly inclusive’ and should cover all prominent political parties in Afghanistan,” Tolo News, the Afghan television station reported on its website.

In tune with Mr. Khalilzad’s latest initiative, the Russians and other regional countries, gauging the fluidity of the situation, were also quick off the blocks, following the power-sharing deal. During a video conference on Monday called by Zamir Kabulov, the Russian Presidential envoy, on Afghanistan Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan unveiled their expectations from the Afghan reconciliation process. In a joint statement, the quartet urged an “inclusive ceasefire in Afghanistan” — a call which may not favour Mr. Ghani, who had launched a new offensive against Taliban, accusing it of marshalling an attack on the maternity ward in a Kabul hospital last week.

The four special envoys also counselled Washington not to conduct a hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan. Besides, they exhorted “all parties in Afghanistan,” to curb terrorism by adopting “serious measures” against Al-Qaeda, the ISIS, the East Turkistan Movement, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, and the other terrorist organisations that run operations against the regional countries.

The Iranians especially spotlighted respect for “ethnic and religious” minorities — a veiled reference to ethnic Hazara, Shia and Tajik communities that share strong historical bonds with Tehran. In a separate statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry also glazed Beijing’s geo-economic interests by pointing to China’s support for Afghanistan’s “peaceful reconstruction”. China wants Afghanistan to become part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, providing the landlocked country access to the China-run Gwadar port in the Indian Ocean.