Kashmir on brink: Pakistan leader claims Taliban poised to help liberate region from India

A SENIOR Pakistan politician caused a major controversy by claiming the Taliban would help Islamabad liberate Kashmir from Indian control.

Pakistan forces seen launching attack in north Kashmir

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The explosive and incendiary remarks were made during a recent TV interview by Neelam Irshad Sheikh, a leader of the governing party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). The Islamic militants have recently retaken Afghanistan in the wake of the US withdrawal of its troops from the country. In a stunning victory, the jihadists swept back to power after defeating the government forces of President Ashraf Ghani.

Ms Irshad Sheikh told a news channel in Pakistan: “The Taliban are saying that they are with us and they will help us in Kashmir.”

She added: “Taliban will help us because they have been mistreated.”

Many security analysts accuse Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence agency of having created and nurtured the Taliban.

Kashmir

Kashmir (Image: Getty)

Kashmir

Kashmir (Image: Getty)

In a move that will only fuel suspicions of a close alliance between the two, the ISI chief Lieutenant, General Faiz Hamid, was reported to have arrived in Kabul at the weekend for a meeting with the Taliban’s leaders.

Chris Alexander, a former Canadian ambassador to Afghanistan, told Express.co.uk that the politician’s remarks reflected the thinking and ideas of Pakistan’s military and intelligence elites.

“I think it is a serious statement by a fairly naive politician based on something they heard in a briefing from Generals or ISI officers,” he said.

READ MORE: India vs Pakistan: UN Chief warns Kashmir war would be ‘DISASTER’

Imran khan

Imran khan (Image: Getty)

“In the corridors of power at General Headquarters in Rawalpindi or ISI headquarters, these are the terms in which they think,” the former diplomat explained.

“If they can have more training camps in Afghanistan, scale up the number of people graduating from madrasa in Pakistan because of the success the Taliban are perceived to have had in Afghanistan, then they can turn that enlarged irregular army at some point against Kashmir.”

He pointed out that ever since partition in 1947, Islamabad has used Afghans in Kashmir, and also deployed “irregular forces created for the fight in Kashmir in the Afghan theatre as well.”

The Kashmir conflict started after the partition of India in 1947 as both India and Pakistan claimed the entirety of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.

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Afghanistan

Afghanistan (Image: Getty)

The bitter dispute has led to three wars and numerous armed skirmishes between the two neighbours.

Currently, India controls approximately 55 percent of the land area of the region and 70 percent of its population

For its part, Pakistan is in possession of roughly 35 percent of the land area, while China lays claim to the rest.

Harry Byrne

Harry Byrne

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