After a senior Taliban leader called India’s role in Afghanistan as “negative”, the Afghan government responds by shunning the remarks and saying that India has “been cooperating in development” of the country.
Abbas Stanikzai, #Taliban Chief Negotiator in a new interview today:
— Hashim Wahdatyar (@HashimWahdatyar) May 16, 2020
Soon after Sher Muhammad Abbas Stanikzai, Taliban’s senior leader was quoted in an interview as calling India’s role in the region being ‘negative’, the Afghan government’s spokesperson for Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Gran Hewad has responded to the comments.
“India one of the biggest donor countries and has helped Afghanistan in development and reconstruction areas, we appreciate their cooperation. We expect India and other neighbouring counties [will] play a significant role in [the] Afghan peace process,” told the Afghan spokesperson at the US-backed Radio Azadi.
The Taliban chief negotiator had said in an interview with Hashim Wahdatyar, a former director at Institute of Current World Affairs that “India has always played a negative role in Afghanistan. India supported traitors in the country.”
AshrafGani & Abdullah have joined hands in power sharing
— LT GENERAL GURMIT SINGH (Retd) (@LtGenGurmit) May 19, 2020
Stanikzai who was once trained at India’s premier IMA Dehradun in the 1970s is currently serving as the head of its political office in Qatar. In the controversial interview, the Taliban leader also mentioned that India backs “those who are corrupt and have been put in power by foreigners and not elected by the Afghan people.”
Since 2002, India has been donating about $3 billion and has been one of the biggest regional donors to the war-torn country. Apart from building the new Afghan parliament, India has also provided assistance in building major hydroelectric projects like the Salma Dam and has also developed over 2,500 miles of roads and provided thousands of educational scholarships. Yet India has no military presence in Afghanistan.
The Pakistan Connection
While the Indian government has neither responded nor asked for an explanation on Taliban leader’s remarks, Pakistan’s government’s Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Fawad Chaudhry tweeted that “Indian involvement in Afghanistan is a serious threat to peace in Afghanistan, Mr Doval is habitual to pock nose in issues where otherwise India must stay out, Afghanistan is not Your business stay out of it n let peace be the destiny of people of Afghanistan.”
Indian involvement in #Afghanistan is a serious threat to #PeaceinAfghanistan , Mr Doval is habitual to pock nose in issues where otherwise India must stay out, Afghanistan is not Your business stay out of it n let peace be the destiny of prople of Afghanistan. https://t.co/idqNSLR6cc
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) May 17, 2020
On the other hand, Sayed Khalid Sadat, a political analyst from Nangarhar in Afghanistan told Radio Azadi that “The other thing is that India and Pakistan are having historical enmity and Pakistan is playing a proxy role in Afghanistan, and Taliban are being accused of playing Pakistan’s proxy role in Afghanistan and are backed by Pakistan. I believe Taliban [are making] these assertions on Pakistan’s demand.”
Dr Barnett Richard Rubin, a political scientist and a leading expert on Afghanistan and South Asia told an Iranian newspaper in 2018 that “the main external support for the Taliban comes from Pakistan as it always has because of Pakistan’s concern about India’s presence in Afghanistan, Afghanistan’s claims on Pakistani territory, and its fear that the US troops in Afghanistan might seize Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.”
He continues that “Pakistan allows the Taliban to raise money, equip themselves, and travel freely, including across the border and does not arrest or harass them unless they threaten Pakistani interests by acting independently.
To escape pressure from Pakistan, the Taliban established their office in Qatar.” The office that’s been referred by Dr Rubin is Doha, the capital city of Qatar is the same office that is headed by Stanikzai.
Mohammad Taqi, a Pakistani-American columnist says that “The outdated Pakistani military concern that India seeks to cultivate a relationship with Afghanistan so that it can militarily trap Pakistan in the so-called nutcracker manoeuvre is belied by the three countries’ history.”