No foreign-backed terror in Afghanistan: Taliban

Taliban says it’s fighting occupation, asks India to take care of its Muslim minority

Updated - April 02, 2020 11:13 pm IST

Published - April 02, 2020 11:07 pm IST - New Delhi

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen. | File

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen. | File

Externally supported terrorism does not exist in Afghanistan, the Taliban said on Wednesday and urged India to ensure welfare of its Muslim community. Spokesman of the Taliban’s Political Office, Suhail Shaheen, said the main problem of Afghanistan is foreign occupation and suggested India should not be at “loggerheads” with real Afghan aspirations.

Also read | India welcomes Afghanistan’s decision to form 21-member team for talks with Taliban

“There is no externally sponsored terrorism. There are, on the one side, the Afghan people, a liberation force in the shape of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), struggling for liberation of the country. On the other side, there are the invading forces. It is more appropriate for India, whose people also have a shining history of struggle from Britain, not to give the name of terrorism to indigenous liberation movements,” said Mr. Shaheen in an online interaction with The Hindu . Following the February 29 peace agreement with the U.S. , the Taliban has been referring to itself as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

Taliban’s pronouncements on a set of long held Indian positions came a day after the Ministry of External Affairs reiterated and hinted at Pakistan’s hand in fomenting terrorism inside Afghanistan and approved the choice of the team from the side of President Ashraf Ghani’s government for the intra-Afghan negotiation.

“India has consistently supported an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled process for enduring peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan... which would lead to a peaceful and stable future for Afghanistan free from the scourge of externally sponsored terrorism,” the Ministry of External Affairs said on April 1.

New starting point

The Taliban, however, clarified that it disagrees with some points in the Indian statement especially with the notion of “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace process” that India has supported since the 1980s.

“There are sentences in this statement, we do not agree with. Afghan-led and Afghan-owned which in your opinion means Kabul administration-led and owned. On the basis of the agreement signed with the U.S., we talk to all Afghan sides and will hold intra-Afghan negotiations. In principle, they (talks) are not led or owned by Kabul,” said Mr. Shaheen.

Mr. Shaheen pointed out that the new starting point of the intra-Afghan peace talk is the U.S.-Taliban peace agreement. “I think it is neither in India’s interest to remain at loggerheads with the genuine aspirations of Afghan people.”

The comments from the Taliban came after at least 25 persons, mostly Sikh citizens of Afghanistan including an Indian, were killed in a terror attack in Kabul on March 25 which was claimed by the Islamic State.

Also read | For Afghan Sikhs, it’s between violence and exodus

Mr. Shaheen said the Afghan Taliban disapproves of such attacks and will protect all communities of Afghanistan and urged the government of India to treat the Indian Muslim community without discrimination. “We are committed to minorities’ rights and have strongly condemned the recent attack by Daesh (IS) on a Sikh minority temple. We also urge India to protect the rights of its Muslim minority. They are Indian citizens and your people.”

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.