Taliban outreach, a myth or reality

By K N Pandita

Taliban have often reiterated their policy of Taliban fighters not fighting in a foreign land. How come the rumour of the Taliban possible outreach to Kashmir has been receiving media hype? Taliban outreach is a craving Pakistan has been nursing.

The Haqqani network has been very close to ISI ever since its creation in the 1990s. Practically, while stay put with the Taliban, the Haqqani group has been carrying forward the agenda of ISI, be it the opposition to the Americans or Indians, be it attacks their assets in Kabul or elsewhere within their reach or be it the propaganda blitzkrieg.

Pakistan Air Force ’s attacks on Panjsheer Resistance Movement seems to have been prompted by the Haqqani network because the group considers the Panjsheer resistance as the only and also formidable opposition to its claim to prominence in the Taliban power structure in Kabul. In some attacks on the Indian embassy in Kabul and attempts of damaging India-built infrastructures in Afghanistan, the leading role has been played by the Haqqani jihadist network. Even the bombardment and destruction of the figurines in the Bamiyan region is attributed to the Haqqani networks.

This network has been the main stumbling block in 3-year long protracted peace talks between the Taliban and the US official circles. The reason why Washington was keen on inducting Pakistan in peace talks at the cost of the elected government in Kabul was that the Pentagon knew the Haqqani network was a creation of Pakistan, strictly adhered to the programme chalked out by the ISI and the logistics needed to overthrow a corrupt and directionless government in Kabul all were provided by the in Kabul as it would mean Pakistan’s Afghan policy exclusively conducted by the ISI had clear goals. (a) Acquire strategic space westward to secure her border with India. (b) Engineer India’s ouster from Afghanistan necessitated the removal of the elected government in Kabul as that would mean giving a handle to India in having a say in Afghanistan’s foreign policy (c) Prompt the Taliban to fight the Americans and hoodwink the Americans by convincing them that Pakistan is with them in the fight against terrorism of Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Pakistan would never disclose to the Taliban the real purpose of their pro-Taliban stance and the broad contours of Pak’s Afghan policy in the post-Soviet withdrawal period. Giving media hype to the rumour of Taliban outreach to Kashmir suits Pakistan’s Kashmir policy. It boosts the morale of Kashmir terrorists, insurgents and separatists. We should not overlook a spate of terrorist attacks in Kashmir valley in which both Hindus and Muslims are targeted. The objective is to keep Kashmir pot boiling and to give an impression to the world that India’s claim of restoration of a semblance of peace in Kashmir is nothing but pretence. Just bring to mind the reaction of a Kashmir leader to the assertion of the RSS chief made in Jammu recently.

Kashmir history tells us that Kashmiris have always tried to invite a foreign power to chastise their local adversary. The wishful thinking of the Afghan Taliban making a move towards Kashmir will give solace to only the naive. Before heading towards Kashmir, the Taliban of Afghanistan will have to settle the score with the IS-Khurasan, their deadly enemy that has created a strong foothold in Afghanistan. If at all, and whenever in good time, the Taliban can resolve this issue or perish with it, the new geopolitical scenario that will emerge will ask for a strange configuration that cannot be predicted right now.

Assuming that the Taliban manage to handle the IS-K, the next from which will absorb them in deep dilemma is what stance to adopt with Tehreek –i-Taliban-i-Pakistan (TTP) whom the Taliban empathise as sister organization but against whom Pakistan army is frantically pitted. By Pakistan’s confession, nearly seventy-eight thousand people have perished in the Pakistan army’s Zarb-e-azab campaign in Waziristan. The double link of TTP with Pakistan-based terrorist organizations on the one hand and ISIS (including IS-K) on the other makes Pakistan’s position deeply suspicious and vulnerable.

Lastly, the Taliban-headed regime in Afghanistan will not receive recognition by major powers of the world unless (a) there is an inclusive regime in Kabul, and (b) the human rights of the Afghan people, especially the women, are strictly observed. No international funding agency is prepared to contribute to the development of Afghanistan unless the two conditions are translated into reality. The Taliban are on the horns of a dilemma of whether to relax the sharia code of their interpretation and join the international fraternity in observing universal human rights or to adhere strictly to sharia and embrace more tightly the Islam of the tribal Arab society of the days of its emergence.

When these stages are covered, and whether these will or will not be covered at all, then the movement of the Taliban along with their entire terrorist entourage from Kabul, Syria, AF-Pak, Balakot etc. will head towards Kashmir to bring the light of the “religion of peace” to Kashmir. It is another long wait for Kashmir separatists.

But notwithstanding this ground situation, the harsh reality surfacing from Taliban second occupation of Kabul is that the simple Kalashnikov has repulsed the great democracy of the United States. Evidently, the fourteen century old sharia law will rule the roost. The world has seen how the strongest democracy in the succumbed before the upholders and defenders of sharia rule. Now world powers are begging Talban to make a commitment that they will not attack their countries. Such is the high level of dread they have created. And they have no courage to come together in unison to fight the scourge and relieve the mankind of looming cloud of losing their faith and life style. The much touted Charter of Human Rights is equal with the dust, because no member country or signatory to the UN Human Rights Charter opened its mouth against the blatant violation of the innocent people, old, women and children of Afghanistan. It shows that radicalism has won the final battle against democracy, liberalism and human dignity. Therefore, the outreach of Taliban is a reality not a myth because they have silenced the entire world. China and Russia both are in cahoots with them and the US has a secret agreement with them signed in Doha though its secret clauses are not known as yet.

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