Pakistan Draws Flak For Funding Taliban

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Pakistan-based terror outfits have extended their support to the Taliban in Afghanistan. About 6,000 militants of Tehreek-i- Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are fighting along with the Taliban in Afghanistan … writes Fabien Baussart

People in Afghanistan had celebrated and danced on the roads after they heard that Hamid Gul, former head of the Pakistani spy agency- Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was dead. Gul was responsible for not allowing any government to succeed after 1980’s Afghan War and helped emerge Taliban movement, which threw the country in perpetual war and caused a great misery.

Despite sharing many religious and cultural heritage, majority of Afghani population loathe Pakistan and its people. Even today Pakistan has found to be still supporting Taliban groups and allowing terror groups to operate from its soil. It has worried every Afghanistan about possible damages it can do to the security forces’ ongoing fight against the Talibani militants.

The Taliban is responsible for 2,978 civilian casualties (917 killed, and 2,061 injured) in the first six months of 2021. The war tactics by the Taliban include the use of IEDs, rocket fires, target killing, and ground battles

The withdrawal of the US troops has put the Afghanistan government under tremendous pressure as the Taliban, which intends to rule the country again, is pushing the frontline deep into the urban areas. To make it worse, Pakistan-based terror outfits have extended their support to the Taliban in Afghanistan. About 6,000 militants of Tehreek-i- Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are fighting along with the Taliban in Afghanistan, revealed a report by United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The report said the TTP supports the Afghan Taliban militarily inside Afghanistan against Afghan Army. “The total number of Pakistani foreign terrorist fighters in Afghanistan, posing a threat to both countries, is estimated at between 6,000 and 6,500, most of them with TTP,” the report said. The TTP has taken support of Islam to join the Taliban to defeat the current Afghan government. If the Taliban succeeds, the democratic setup will be gone and human rights will take a backseat.

Now the Afghanistan government has blamed Pakistan’s ISI for helping terrorist groups to set up training camps in Eastern provinces of Afghanistan and also in recruitment. According to reports, besides the TTP, other Pakistan- based terrorist groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Lashkar Islam, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Jamaat ul Ahrar, Tanzim ul Badr and Lashkar Jangawi have joined hands with the radical Islamist forces. Their presence was reported from the provinces of Kunar, Nooristan and Nangarhar, Ghazani, Logar, Khost, Paktia, Kandahar, Zabul and Helmand. Highlighting the Pakistani establishment’s role, Afghanistan’s first Vice President Amrullah Saleh openly called Pakistan’s army “architect and strategic master” of the ongoing terror invasion of Afghanistan. “The propaganda stunts will not change the reality and improve Pakistan’s image in my country. The reality is that Pakistan Army is the architect, strategic master and low profile supplier of the ongoing full-scale terror invasion in my country,” he said.

Afghanistan often criticises Pakistan for reportedly assisting the Taliban. Earlier in July, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani too slammed Islamabad for supporting terrorist organisations when Pakistan Prime Minister was listening to him at an international conference in Tashkent. He said Pakistan had failed to take action against forces supporting the Taliban, which “are openly celebrating the destruction of the assets and capabilities of the Afghan people and State.” Over 10,000 jihadi militants crossed over to Afghanistan from Pakistan in just a month, he added.

The deaths of civilians due to offensive attacks by Taliban and Pakistan-supported militants has seen an unprecedented surge. According to a UN body, as many as 5,183 civilian casualties (1,659 killed and 3,524 injured) were reported in the first half of 2021, which registered 47 percent increase compared with the same period in the previous year. However, the rise has been acute since the US began pulling out its troops. “Of serious concern is the acute rise in the number of civilians killed and injured in the period from 1 May, with almost as many civilian casualties in the May-June period as recorded in the entire preceding four months,” reads a report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

Enraged over Pakistan’s role in the deterioration situation in their country, Afghani people have been holding protests inside Afghanistan as well as abroad. Expressing anger over the infiltration of terrorists from across Pakistan, scores of Afghani people staged agitations in front of the Pakistan Embassy in London. They carried banners and raised anti-Pakistan slogans. Afghanistan has been asking Pakistan for years to stop the infiltration of jihadi. However, Pakistan has taken no concrete action. There is a general feeling that Pakistan wants to keep Afghanistan feeble, debilitated and divided. Pakistan intended to use the suppressed and subjugated Afghanistan for geopolitical gains, echoes views from the conflict-ridden country.

 (Fabien Baussart is the President of CPFA (Center of Political and Foreign Affairs)

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