If not for China, Pakistan would have been blacklisted by the FATF long back. The nation continues to be in the grey list which ends up costing its economy billions of dollars every year. India’s efforts to blacklist Pakistan at the FATF have received a major boost, albeit from an unexpected source– the jihadi terror organization– Taliban. In a move that has sent alarm bells ringing in Pakistan, former Pakistani Taliban spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan has revealed that Pakistan authorities had asked him to lead a death squad to kill a list of prominent voices.
It appears that years of friendship between Pakistan and the Taliban has reached its end as the Taliban is now willing to throw Pakistan under the bus. In audio, former Pakistani Taliban spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan can be heard explaining how the Pakistan authorities asked him to lead a death squad to eliminate a list of prominent voices that are creating hindrances for the Pakistan government.
In the audio, Ehsan can be heard revealing, “I was asked to lead a death squad… and the list included people from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and they were Pashtuns from all walks of life including journalists. (Mujhe kaha gaya ki ap ik death squad ko lead karein..aur ap gadaron aur mulk key dushmanon key khilaf kam shuru karey..Jo list muje diya gaya usmai zyada tar afrad ka taluk Khyber Pakhtunkhwa se tha aur woh sab pashtun they jis mai zindgi key har shobey se talku rakhney waley afrad key name they, jin mai pashtun safee afrad key name bhi shamil they).”
It may well go down as eyewash, but, it seems that the Taliban has been distancing itself from Pakistan on the diplomatic front at least. With such moves, it has also been sending feelers to India which remains skeptical of the Taliban’s role in Afghanistan’s peace process.Pakistan has been accused of harbouring Taliban terror groups on its soil. These groups have in the past killed American soldiers in Afghanistan while receiving a safe haven in Pakistan. This was one of the biggest reasons of the US cutting off aid for Pakistan under Trump. Ehsan’s stunning revelations will further embolden India’s efforts to push the FATF to blacklist Pakistan.
It seems that the Taliban is aware that India has serious apprehensions about its role and that India could stop the US from fully leaving the country of Afghanistan. Indian diplomatic circles are also talking about the feasibility of sending the Indian troops to Afghanistan.
Perhaps that’s why, during the historic peace deal between the US and the Afghan Taliban earlier this year in Doha, India was invited to attend the signing as the then India’s Ambassador to Qatar and Foreign Secretary Harshvardhan Shringla attended the signing of the historic peace deal, much to the dismay of Pakistan.
Last year, the Taliban had publicly advocated that it wanted peace with India as it feared that India’sapprehension could derail the peace deal with the US. “Taking aircraft is against our stated policy. We were pushed into the middle of this incident and tried to resolve the situation as peacefully as possible. Back then, the Indian government had expressed its appreciation to the Taliban for the release of the aircraft and the hostages,” The Hindu quoted a senior source within the Taliban.
In another significant development, earlier in May, the Taliban clarified that it would not join Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir, as it was clear that it “does not interfere in internal affairs of other countries”.
“The statement published in the media about Taliban joining Jihad in Kashmir is wrong…. The policy of the Islamic Emirate is clear that it does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries,” Suhail Shaheen, the spokesperson for the political wing of the Taliban had said.
Afghanistan continues to represent a complex problem with the Afghan Government controlling 219 districts and 63% population and Taliban controlling 50 districts and 10% of the population with the Taliban going out of its way to assure India over its fears on Kashmir.
India feels that Pakistan’s nexus with the Taliban will be strengthened when the US withdraws from Afghanistan. When this happens, Pakistan, which fought proxy wars on the two fronts- Afghanistan and Kashmir- will focus all its energies on Kashmir, with the help of the Taliban. However, The Taliban now wants India to shed these fears and perhaps that’s why the terror outfit has made significant pro-India statements over the past couple of months.