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Taliban takeover of Afghanistan may boost pan-Islamist militant groups in Kashmir

Experts believe the threat to J&K is imminent as Pakistan, ISI can shift terror training from Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir to Afghanistan
Last Updated : 17 August 2021, 07:53 IST
Last Updated : 17 August 2021, 07:53 IST
Last Updated : 17 August 2021, 07:53 IST
Last Updated : 17 August 2021, 07:53 IST

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The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has led to apprehensions that it may not only embolden militants in Jammu and Kashmir but boost pan-Islamist terror groups in the region.

Security experts believe that the Taliban’s return to power will have a negative impact in Kashmir as it immensely relieves the Pakistan army and its spy agency ISI who can shift terror training from Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir to Afghanistan to avoid international scrutiny.

“Anti-India terror groups would now get safe havens in Afghanistan. Also the ISI may ask the Taliban to divert some of its terrorists to J&K to revive terror operations,” former J&K police chief, Shesh Pal Vaid, said.

He says that India needs to be very cautious. “We may have to deal with the alliance of China, Pakistan and the Taliban,” he predicts.

The other impact of Taliban takeover in Afghanistan that is worrying is that pan-Islamist militant groups have gained tremendous ground in Kashmir in recent years. “The Taliban have not given up on the idea of the Caliphate (Islamic rule) from Afghanistan to the European border. This thought has gained support in Kashmir in recent years and terror groups like Jaish-e-Mohammad may try to exploit this situation,” a senior police officer involved in counter-insurgency operations, said.

From 1996 to 2001, when the Taliban was in power, most of the foreign terrorists entered Kashmir. From the Kargil war in 1999 to the Parliament attack and the attack on the J&K Assembly in 2001, the role of foreign terrorists had increased manifold during that period.

“After the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Afghanistan in the late 1980s, an anti-India armed insurgency erupted in the Valley. The Soviet troops withdrawal boosted the morale of pan-Islamist forces and same can happen after US withdrawal from Afghanistan now,” he believes.

Prof Noor Ahmad Baba, former head of the political science department of Kashmir University, believes that many people in Kashmir were waiting for the Taliban to cross over and fight here. “There will be encouragement. If Pakistan is willing to invest, it can have more focus on Kashmir (after neutralising its Afghan front),” he said.

However, Director General of Border Security Force (BSF) S S Deswal asserted that India was ready for any eventuality in the wake of the evolving situation in Afghanistan under the Taliban.

“It (Taliban takeover) is that country’s internal matter. However the situation there is being closely monitored and India is ready for any eventuality,” he said, while addressing a press conference at Octroi post along the International Border in R.S.Pura area of Jammu on Sunday.

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Published 17 August 2021, 07:36 IST

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