Taliban is fooling India’s foreign office
The signs of imminent surge in jihadist violence are visible everywhere, but Foreign Secretary Shringla prefers the comfort of the disingenuous promises made by the Taliban functionaries he has been meeting
Tony Fernandez | September 5, 2021 11:24 pm
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla (Photo courtesy: Ministry of External Affairs)
Biblical wisdom has it that a leopard can’t change its spots. India’s foreign office, however, believes that this may be possible. Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla’s recent remark alludes to that possibility—at least vis-à-vis India.
“Our engagement with them [the Taliban] has been limited. It’s not that we have [had] a robust conversation. But whatever conversation we have had so far, they have been sort of… At least, the Taliban seem to indicate that they will be reasonable in the way they handle this,” he said.
But, Mr. Shringla, what they may “seem to indicate” is diametrically opposite to what they categorically assert. Talking to BBC Urdu, Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said: “We have this right, being Muslims, to raise our voice for Muslims in Kashmir, India, and any other country.”
Pakistan’s Geo News also quoted him as saying, “We will raise our voice and say that Muslims are your own people, your own citizens. They are entitled to equal rights under your laws.”
This was days after the Taliban stated that it regarded Kashmir as a “bilateral and an internal matter.”
News from and about Pakistan too is not very reassuring from India’s perspective. Neelam Irshad Sheikh, a leader of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), recently said in a television debate that the Taliban would help in “liberating” Kashmir from India. He said, “Taliban have said that they are with us and they will help us in [liberating] Kashmir.”
Khan himself had the cheek to call America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan as emancipation and the Taliban as emancipators: “In Afghanistan they have broken the chains of slavery.”
Millions of Afghans, especially women, hate and fear the barbaric Taliban, but the Oxford-educated Pakistani Prime Minister sees liberation in their rule. His world is patently Orwellian: slavery is freedom.
Pakistan ISI chief Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed is visiting Kabul, evidently to help the Taliban further ‘liberate’ the war-torn nation.
That the Taliban, ISI, al Qaeda, ISIS, and other jihadist groups—with sky-high morale and state-of-the-art arsenal the Americans left behind—will make their obnoxious presence felt in the region is a well-known fact. The signs are visible everywhere, but Foreign Secretary Shringla prefers the comfort of the disingenuous promises made by the Taliban functionaries he has been meeting.
Apparently, some people in the foreign office believe that the Taliban can become civilized. We hope the nation doesn’t have to pay dear for this delusion.