‘Taliban wants crisis between India, Pakistan’

July 15th, 2008 - 8:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Brussels, July 15 (IANS) The Taliban extremists in Afghanistan who have established sanctuaries in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal regions want to see a crisis between Islamabad and New Delhi, and the recent blast on Indian embassy in Kabul is an example, a well-known Pakistani expert has said. Speaking at a seminar on the Afghanistan crisis here Monday, Ahmed Rashid, an expert on Taliban, said that Pakistan should take serious steps to end these sanctuaries in its territories and begin a dialogue with India to find a comprehensive solution to the crisis, EuAsiaNews reported Tuesday.

“You will not get peace in this region as long as you keep treating these (Taliban) sanctuaries as a misnomer or as a mistake. In order to end the sanctuaries you have to start talking to India about Afghanistan and its role in Afghanistan and try to appease the Pakistani military in some way that they are not under threat from the Indian presence in Afghanistan,” Rashid said.

The Pakistani expert suggested that the two countries should perhaps begin their dialogue under UN sponsorship.

He said that “there is widespread belief in Afghanistan that the West will cut and run from Afghanistan or patch up a deal with the Taliban”, which would leave Pakistan in a very powerful position.

“This fear will make the regional powers keep supporting their proxies,” he added.

Commenting on the recent terror attack outside the Indian embassy in Kabul, Rashid expressed his sadness that Indians have accused Pakistan’s Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) of carrying it out.

“It is certainly going to be a major setback on relations” between the two neighbours, he said, adding that a strain in their relations would benefit the Taliban which wants to see a crisis between the two nations.

The analyst also said that the crisis in Afghanistan was no longer confined to that country, it had become a major regional crisis that required a more comprehensive solution.

“This war in Afghanistan is no longer confined to Afghanistan. It is a regional conflict. Today there are not only Afghan Taliban, there are Pakistan Taliban, Central Asian Taliban, there are Sunni groups in Iran who are trying to overthrow the regime who also believe in Taliban ideology,” he said.

“There are new realities in Afghanistan which the Americans, NATO and the European Union are not aware of, or are not tackling them,” he added.

In 2000, Rashid published a book titled “Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia,” which became a best-seller after the 9/11 attacks in the US.

Recently, the Pakistani expert published a new book titled “How the War Against Islamic Extremism Is Being Lost in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia”.

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