Defence

We have right to raise voice for Muslims anywhere including Kashmir, say the Taliban

By The Hindu

Amid concerns in India that Afghan soil under the Taliban regime can be used for terrorist activities against it, the insurgent group has said it has the right to speak out in favour of Muslims anywhere, including in Kashmir, though it does not have a policy of conducting “armed operations” against any country.

Suhail Shaheen, Taliban spokesman for its political office in Doha, in an exclusive interview to BBC through video link on September 2, said, “We will raise our voice and say that Muslims are your own people, your own citizens and they are entitled to equal rights under your law.” As Muslims, it was the group’s right to speak out for Muslims living in Kashmir and any other country, Suhail Shaheen said while speaking from Doha.

While recalling the terms of the Doha agreement with the U.S., he said they had “no policy of conducting armed operations against any country”.

Shaheen’s remarks came days after the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi said Indian envoy to Qatar Deepak Mittal met Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, the head of the Taliban’s Political Office in Doha, at the request of the group. In the meeting, Mr. Mittal conveyed to Stanekzai that Afghanistan’s soil should not be used for anti-Indian activities and terrorism.

It was the first publicly acknowledged formal diplomatic engagement that came two weeks after the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan.

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