A member of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) has said the Pakistani defence establishment including its powerful Army and spy agency – the ISI have been supporting the Taliban and using them against India and Afghanistan.
Mustafa Miakheil said that hundreds of madrasas exist in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where the Taliban gets training under the patronage of the Pakistani Army.
“Many madrasas are located in Peshawar like the Haqqani madrasa, where some 10 lakh people come to study. When they come out, they engage in terror activities in Kashmir and Kabul. In Pakistan, there are 400 big madrasas. Every year, 200 to 300 Taliban passed out from each madrasa. Who is sponsoring them? It is the army!” Miakheil said.
The Pakistan Army claims to have launched operations against the Taliban in Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the war against terror. However, innocent people are being targeted while the Taliban remains scot-free, the activist said.
“The situation there (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) is very bad. There are no media. We don’t get our rights as Pakistan do not consider as its citizen. We say that we are Pakistanis; they say no, you are `traitors’. We say that we love this country, but they don’t believe us. This has been continuing for the past 70 years. Pakistan Army has killed some 70,000 people in the tribal areas. It bombarded our houses. Everything is destroyed there,” he added.
“Over 70 thousand Pashtuns live as refugees. Some 4-5 million tribal Pashtuns are living away of their houses. We have crude oil and gold reserves, but it is all captured by the army. The army supports the Taliban and then carries out attacks in that area to disburse people” Mustafa noted.
Why Does Pakistan Support The Taliban?
The US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and the consequent war in Afghanistan plunged the country into the chaos. Pakistan’s proximity with the Taliban which began after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan is considered pivotal to solving the current situation in Afghanistan.
There are a number of reasons why the Pakistani defence establishment continues to support the Taliban in Afghanistan. First, Islamabad views the Afghan Taliban as the rightful representatives of Afghanistan’s Pashtun-majority population instead of the Northern Alliance which was once backed by India, Iran and Russia.
Secondly and most importantly, the Pakistani army is sceptical of hostile elements controlling Kabul. This has pushed Islamabad to invest in the fundamentally Pashtun militia, as the powerful Pakistan Army believes that the Taliban will help Pakistan’s secure its national security interests, especially against India.
Islamabad wants to keep India out of Afghanistan at any cost and the Taliban is the best bet as the militia group has shared hostile ties with New Delhi all along.