‘Bilateral, Internal Issue’: Taliban ‘Clarifies’ Stand on Kashmir; India On Guard

New Delhi, Aug 17: The Taliban has ‘clarified’ its stance on Kashmir and said it regards it as a bilateral and internal issue, news agency ANI said on Tuesday adding that their focus is unlikely on Kashmir.

Commenting on the growing concerns over the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir, ANI citing sources said, “There will be increased security vigil in Kashmir but things are in control and Pakistan based groups in Afghanistan have little capacity to use the situation.”

Taliban on Sunday entered Kabul and took full control of Afghanistan after the US-backed Afghan government collapsed and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, bringing an abrupt end to a two-decade campaign in which America and its allies had tried to transform the war-torn nation.

The situation had triggered a security threat to India as Pakistan-based groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi have some presence in Afghanistan, officials said. “They have built check posts in some villages and parts of Kabul, along with Taliban,” reports ANI.

There are security concerns that Afghanistan might become the first epicenter of Islamic terrorism, the official noted. “They have access to all the weapons which Americans have supplied and also the weapons of three lakh plus Afghan National Army personnel.”

Those familiar with the matter said Pakistan spy agency ISI will try and influence the Taliban but the effect will be limited. “However, it will have very limited effect as Taliban has acquired power in a position of strength. ISI can only influence weak Taliban but it looks unlikely in the present situation.”

However, there were camps of Pakistani outfits in Afghanistan and India needs to be careful in Jammu and Kashmir, the official said.