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'Pakistan, ISI behind Taliban capturing Afghan districts'

By Arun Lakshman

Jul 19 (IANS): Abdulla Haiwad is President of the Afghan Governors Assembly which is a prominent Kabul-based body of 66 past and present Governors of the country. Haiwad was Governor of the Ghor province in Afghanistan. He is currently under treatment at Alanya, Turkey, following a Covid-19 attack and yet was willing to respond to questions furnished by IANS.

He tells IANS that "I live in Afghanistan, I am a British citizen and I am with my family in Turkey for another two weeks, and then I will return to Kabul".

IANS: After a long presence in Afghanistan, the US Army has almost left the country with 90 per cent of the forces already gone, what is in store for Afghanistan?

Dr Abdulla Haiwad: America has left Afghanistan in a big mess, just as their other allies have done in the past. They have left Afghanistan at the mercy of God and there is a lot of uncertainty moving forward.

IANS: Even as the US Army has started leaving Afghanistan, the Taliban has stepped up attacks and have claimed to have seized power in several districts. Your comments?

Dr Abdulla Haiwad: It is not possible for the Taliban to have captured these districts alone. If what they claim is true, there is no doubt that the Pakistani government and the ISI had some involvement. It is to be noted that Pakistan has created Taliban and issues regular instructions to Taliban ever since it was created. The Taliban does not have any financial resources and fully relies on Pakistan's ISI and military for money and weapons and cash to pay the salary of its foot soldiers.

IANS: India has done huge investments in infrastructure, health, and education in Afghanistan. What will happen to these once Taliban seize power?

Dr Abdulla Haiwad: The Taliban will never have the sole power of Afghanistan. It is possible that an agreement might take place allowing joint leadership however even if this happens, it will not affect the investments India has made. It might mean that further projects in Afghanistan may not take place however any current projects will be left alone.

IANS: Almost all of the Taliban leaders are trained by Pakistan and will it be a proxy Pakistan rule in Afghan if Taliban assumes office?

Dr Abdulla Haiwad: There is no doubt that if the Taliban takes over, it will be a proxy Pakistani government ruling Afghanistan however the chances of them taking over are slim.

IANS: China and Russia has evinced interest in Afghanistan. Your comments?

Dr Abdulla Haiwad: The Chinese and Russians will protect their investments in Pakistan and will look after their own interests.

IANS: If the Taliban seize power will there be curtailment of women's freedom?

Dr Abdulla Haiwad: After Taliban left office, there has been a major improvement in women's lives in Afghanistan, and women were enrolled even in the army and police and many became lawmakers. There will be to some extent curtailment of this freedom but not completely.

IANS: When the Taliban seized power earlier, they hanged the then President Najeebullah. If they seize power again what is in store for the present elected leaders of the country?

Dr Abdulla Haiwad: The world is now watching Afghanistan and the information will reach far and wide immediately and hence it is no longer possible for Pakistan to allow that kind of thing to happen in the country again.

IANS: There are unconfirmed reports that India has entered into back door negotiations with Taliban. Your comments?

Dr Abdulla Haiwad: I have not seen any proof that India has allied with any terrorist organisations so as far as I'm concerned, these reports are untrue.

IANS: Will a new Afghan regime supportive of Pakistan act against Indian interests in Kashmir?

Dr Abdulla Haiwad: A new regime supportive of Pakistan will undoubtedly interfere with India's internal affairs, both Kashmir and Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

IANS: What is the role of Iran in the emerging politics of Afghanistan?

Dr Abdulla Haiwad: Iran has historically been a close ally to Pakistan and together they have worked against the interests of Afghanistan for years. Iran has been actively helping to maintain the war in Afghanistan to keep the government in a weakened, fragile situation.

IANS: Will the education of women be affected if the Taliban comes to power in the country?

Dr Abdulla Haiwad: As I have said earlier, times have changed and the whole world is watching the developments in Afghanistan. I don't think that the education of women are affected but certainly, some restrictions may be put in place.

IANS: In several forums and on social media platforms like Twitter, you had spoken about Afghanistan supporting a free Balochistan. Is this simple rhetoric or a well thought about Afghan national policy?

Dr Abdulla Haiwad: As you know, before India and Pakistan got freedom from British Colonialism, Balochistan got its freedom and had its own national flag, lower and upper houses of Parliament and a President or Emir as you may call it. However on March 27, 1948, Balochistan was occupied by the Pakistanis and ever since the Balochis have been seeking for freedom.

Mohammed Daud Khan as the first President of Afghanistan had encouraged the Balochis to seek their freedom and an armed struggle was waged in 1973 but Pakistan with the support of Iran and its French Mirage Jets crushed it. Najibullah had also tried to help the Balochis get their freedom but unfortunately, he was also assassinated.

If Afghanistan is to be free of terrorists, then Balochistan has to be a free nation as almost all the terror bases of Pakistan are based there.


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