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Did Taliban Meet Jaish Chief Masood Azhar? India Should Pay Heed

From 17 to 19 August, the JeM leader was reportedly in Kandahar to coordinate with Taliban leaders.

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Opinion
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Did Taliban Meet Jaish Chief Masood Azhar? India Should Pay Heed
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“From 17 to 19 August, the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed, Maulana Masood Azhar, accompanied by his brother Abdul Rauf Azhar and Maulana Ammar, was in Kandahar, busy coordinating with Taliban leaders, including Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, in order to establish an operational set-up. During the meetings, Masood Azhar argued that instead of getting involved in achieving political targets in Pakistan and/or Afghanistan, it should continue to focus on ‘India-centric’ operations, and sought Taliban’s assistance to facilitate JeM’s operations in Kashmir once the Taliban regime is fully established in Afghanistan.” *

Local sources are swearing on it, and, after all, it should not come as a surprise. The best and the mightiest of terrorist groups are, in fact, have been gathering in Afghanistan for days. Although the Haqqani Network is still on the United Nations and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) terrorist list, Mohammed Nabi Omari, a Haqqani leader with close ties with the Al-Qaeda, who was detained at Guantanamo, has been officially appointed by the Taliban as the Governor of Khost.

Anas, Jalaluddin Haqqani’s son, will most likely sit in the official government, and Sirajjudin himself has been given political clearance by Americans. Anas has been portrayed as a “poet and author” following the actual guidelines of the western press at the moment — “humanise” terrorists by showing them while eating ice cream, playing at amusement parks, quoting poems. In the end, these poor chaps are slaughtering civilians because “they never had a childhood”. Adolf Hitler loved dogs, was a vegetarian and painted in watercolours, for what it’s worth.

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Taliban at the UN?

Having a bunch of terrorists formally sitting in the presidential palace in Kabul, and most probably at the UN later, does not bother Washington much; it is even less worried by Masood Azhar and the JeM, although they clearly have, unlike the Taliban, a global jihad agenda.

It is an open secret that the JeM, through its ISI handlers, has maintained close ties with the Afghan Taliban and has been providing them with a continuous stream of Pakistani recruits from the provinces of South Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA. The JeM’s training camps, including the one at Balakot, have supplied a sizeable number of battle-hardened fighters that have aided the ground successes of the Afghan Taliban.

Further, the JeM has also provided suicide bombers to the Taliban and the Haqqani Network for executing attacks in Afghanistan.

In February 2019, a delegation of the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network commanders held a meeting with JeM leader Masood Azhar at Markaz Subhanallah in Bahawalpur, where the Taliban have been offering to shift Azhar to a safer location in Afghanistan.

However, Masood Azhar declined to leave Pakistan, while assuring the Taliban of his continued support from Pakistan. A significant number of hardcore JeM cadres were anyway shifted to Afghanistan after India’s strikes on their training camp in Balakot on 26 February, 2019, and the Taliban and the Haqqani Network accommodated a number of these cadres.

There are several reports, coming from different parts of Afghanistan, that many Talibanis speak “a foreign language”, a language that is not one of those commonly spoken in Afghanistan.

There are several reports also that in the first days after Kabul’s fall, there has been a steady stream of military vehicles, equipment and weapons taken from the Afghan army going overnight in the same direction — Pakistan. The same Pakistan that has been rejoicing with various degrees of madness for the victory of the Taliban over the West, helping Taliban, and giving intelligence inputs to prepare lists of those Afghans who were collaborating with various foreign embassies, including the Indian one.

Pakistan Is Thrilled, So Are Terrorists

Despite what the Taliban claim on media and social media, embassies have been searched and people hunted down. “Islamist parties in Pakistan have celebrated the victory in Afghanistan. Undoubtedly, the ISI is hailing the fall of Kabul as their humbling of a second superpower, but it is savvy enough to do its gloating in private,” wrote Bruce Riedel recently.

But scary reports about ISI and its proxies are coming not only from Afghanistan, but from the other side of the border, too. Starting from the land of Azadi, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, “A campaign has been going on on social media and in various WhatsApp groups regarding the release of Waqar, a member of the [in theory] banned Jaish-e-Muhammad, from Kabul, and the preparations for his reception in Rawalakot, Azad Kashmir. Preparations have been made to welcome not only Waqar but all those released from Afghanistan, and a rally was staged on August 21. There was an atmosphere of fear and terror since the ‘welcome commission’ was fully armed and was firing shots in the air to keep people at bay. Useless to say, the State remained silent. After more than 50 years, Pashtun are going to invade Kashmir once again and local people will be once more drenched in blood." *

According to locals, while a section of state institutions is busy compiling lists of members of JeM, Sipah-e-Sahaba and other Deobandi-affiliated militant groups, fearing they may restore their old ties with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a majority of them are keener to use those lists to welcome the “heroes” coming back home after years in prison.

After all, if the strategy worked until now and fooled the whole of West, why should they change it? Call civilians killed in bomb blasts “collateral damage” (as the Taliban did on TV referring to journalists they had slaughtered until the day before) and go on. For the rest of the world, the future is just around the corner, and it does not look bright.

(*This is a testimony based article, and the source wishes to remain anonymous.)

(Francesca Marino is a journalist and a South Asia expert who has written ‘Apocalypse Pakistan’ with B Natale. Her latest book isBalochistan — Bruised, Battered and Bloodied’. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for his reported views.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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