Taliban on Kashmir: ‘We Urge Peace and Use of Rational Pathways’

Pakistani Kashmiris burn effigies of Indian leaders at a protest in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan, capital of Pakistani Kashmir, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. Islamabad said it would downgrade its diplomatic ties with New Delhi, expel the Indian ambassador and suspend trade. Prime Minister Imran Khan told Pakistan's National Security Committee that his …
AP Photo/M.D. Mughal

The Afghan Taliban on Thursday called for peace between India and Pakistan after India revoked Kashmir’s autonomy, urging the nuclear-armed rivals to refrain from violence.

India and Pakistan claim Kashmir in its entirety. However, Pakistan, India, and China all have competing claims to territory in the region, which shares a border with Afghanistan.

On Thursday, Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, indicated in a statement that the terrorist group does not want Afghanistan linked to the Kashmir dispute.

Mujahid wrote:

Linking the issue of Kashmir with that of Afghanistan by some parties will not aid in improving the crisis at hand because the issue of Afghanistan is not related nor should Afghanistan be turned into the theater of competition between other countries

India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) this week dissolved the constitutional provision that granted limited autonomy to New Delhi-administered Kashmir. India’s move came amid an indefinite security lockdown and a communication blackout, including the blocking of phone lines, the internet, and news outlets that continues. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has defended India’s actions, saying it will make Kashmir more secure.

After repeatedly rejecting unconditional ceasefire offers by the Afghan government, the Taliban is now urging Pakistan and India to exercise restraint over Kashmir.

Mujahid declared:

Reports are being published that India has revoked the autonomous status of Kashmir, sent additional troops, imposed a state of emergency and created difficulties and hardships for the resident Muslim population.

The Islamic Emirate [Taliban] expresses deep sadness in this regard and urges both India and Pakistan to refrain from taking steps that could pave a way for violence and complications in the region and usurp the rights of Kashmiris.

Having gained bitter experiences from war and conflict, we urge peace and use of rational pathways to solve regional issues.

Mujahid requested that the international community “play a constructive role in preventing insecurity in Kashmir” and encouraged both sides to “resolve the issue in a calm and composed manner.”

The Taliban’s call for peace came amid a sharp increase in violence across Afghanistan fueled by the terrorist group amid peace negotiations with the United States.

Taliban jihadis have intensified attacks against Afghan security forces and civilians during the negotiations, which began nearly a year ago.

The Taliban has repeatedly rejected U.S.-backed offers by the Afghan government of a ceasefire and legitimacy as an official political group.

Both India and Pakistan are considered critical to ongoing efforts to achieve a peace deal in Afghanistan. Kashmir’s loss of its limited autonomy could “cloud Afghan peace efforts,” forcing Pakistan to divert its attention away from the negotiations to end the nearly 18-year-old Afghan war, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Tuesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has conceded that Pakistan facilitated the peace negotiations. For years, the Pentagon accused Pakistan of harboring the Afghan Taliban.

So far, negotiators have agreed on the withdrawal of foreign forces in exchange for Taliban counterterrorism assurances.

President Trump has indicated he plans to leave behind a residual force to ensure the Taliban keeps its promises.

India has expressed concerns about the Taliban taking over Kabul again. Taliban jihadis are close to India’s nemesis Pakistan. U.S.-backed legitimacy for the Taliban could allow the terrorist organization to return to power in Kabul. U.S. troops invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 to remove the Taliban regime for harboring al-Qaeda before the September 11 attacks.

Despite promises to distance itself from al-Qaeda, the Taliban remains close to the terrorist group, which maintains a presence in Kashmir.

Al-Qaeda has urged its followers to attack India.

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