Taliban 'won't interfere in Kashmir'; seeks 'good ties' with India
The Taliban's Haqqani Network leader Anas Haqqani on Wednesday ensured that the Haqqanis have no intention to interfere in Kashmir. In an interview with CNN-News18, he clarified the Haqqani Network's relation with Pakistan's ISI and their views on India. This comes a day after India established its first diplomatic contact with the Taliban since the group seized power in Afghanistan. Here are more details.
Haqqani said Kashmir is not a part of their jurisdiction, and thus, any interference will be against their policy. "How can we go against our policy? It is clear we will not interfere," he said. He also reiterated that the Haqqanis will not support terror groups such as Jaish-e-Mohamad and Lashkar-e-Taiba. He emphasized the Taliban wants a good relationship with India.
On their ties with Pakistan's Army, Haqqani said that that was media propaganda, adding, "The media worldwide and especially in India is spreading negative propaganda about us." "No Pakistani weapon was ever used in the war. These allegations are wrong and baseless," he continued. He further stated that the Taliban wants a good relationship with the rest of the world.
Talking about the Taliban's policy toward the rest of the world, Haqqani said, "We won't interfere in matters of others and we expect others also not to interfere in ours." Rubbishing reports of violation of women's rights, he said things will be transparent once policies for men and women are declared. About the new government, he said "good news" will be announced soon.
Asked whether the Taliban will accept the Durand Line as a permanent border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Haqqani said, "I can't confirm anything right now. Our elders will decide and declare this."
Haqqani also assured that Afghan Sikhs and Hindus are safe in Afghanistan. "There was some panic and fear initially, but now things have settled and people are happy. Afghan Sikhs and Hindus are like any other communities of Afghanistan and they would live happily." He said the Taliban welcomes India and the rest of the world to come and support the people of Afghanistan.
On Tuesday, India established its first diplomatic contact with the Taliban in Qatar's capital Doha. The meeting was held between the Indian Ambassador to Qatar Deepak Mittal and Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, the head of the Taliban's Political Office. India reportedly raised concerns over the use of Afghanistan's territory by terrorists. Stanekzai assured India that "these issues would be positively addressed."
The Haqqani Network is an important faction of the Taliban that captured Kabul on August 15. It is a US-designated terror group accused of most of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan. The Haqqanis are officially subsumed under the larger Taliban organization but they are still known for their independence, fighting acumen, and savvy business dealings. They operate in eastern Afghanistan's rugged mountains.