World, Asia - Pacific

Taliban want Afghanistan not linked to Kashmir issue

Afghan citizens fear as Pakistan gets busy on its eastern front it will backtrack from promised peace talks

Shadi Khan Saif   | 08.08.2019
Taliban want Afghanistan not linked to Kashmir issue FILE PHOTO

KABUL, Afghanistan

The Taliban on Thursday said the India-Pakistan rift over Kashmir should not be linked with the situation in Afghanistan.

''Linking the issue of Kashmir with that of Afghanistan by some parties will not aid in improving the crisis at hand because the issue of Afghanistan is not related nor should Afghanistan be turned into the theater of competition between other countries,'' Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said in a statement.

This comes as Afghans reacted angrily on social media following remarks by Pakistan's opposition leader in the Parliament on Tuesday.

“What kind of a deal is this that the Afghans enjoy and celebrate peace in Kabul, but in Kashmir, blood is shed? No, this is not acceptable for us,” said Shahbaz Sharif, a leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party.

Meanwhile, the Embassy of Pakistan in Kabul on Thursday clarified that the rift over Kashmir would not affect the peace drive in Afghanistan.

Addressing a news conference, Zahid Nasrullah Khan, ambassador of Pakistan, said: "The issue of Kashmir has nothing to do with the violence in Afghanistan and it is unfortunately still unresolved, despite the so many sacrifices and acts of human rights abuses against the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”

The disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir has been under a communication blockade following the Indian government's move on Monday to revoke its special status.

The special provisions, based on which the Himalayan state had agreed to join the Indian union in 1947, allowed it to enact its own laws and prevented outsiders from settling and buying land in the region.

Kashmiri leaders and citizens fear the step is an attempt by the government to change demography of India's only Muslim-majority state.

Pakistan, which controls parts of the state but claims it fully, has reacted strongly suspending bilateral trade with India and downgrading its diplomatic ties.

Pakistan is also assisting the U.S. in holding talks with the Afghan Taliban as Washington looks for a way to end its 18-year war in Afghanistan.

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