Radical Islamists Across South Asia 'Emboldened' by Taliban Win, Analyst Says on Kashmir Killings
The Taliban has assured the global community, including India, that it won't allow Afghan soil to be used as a terror launchpad for attacks against foreign countries. However, analysts argue that the Taliban's victory has given a psychological boost to militant groups and radical Islamists operating across South Asia.
The takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban* has “emboldened” radical Islamists across South Asia, including in Jammu and Kashmir
, according to veteran Indian strategic affairs expert Qamar Agha.
“The Islamists in the region certainly feel empowered now. We have seen how mobs in Bangladesh have been targeting the Hindu minority community. Even in Pakistan, there has been a resurgence of the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP),” he told Sputnik.
“In Kashmir, they have adopted the method of targeted killings,” he said.
18 October 2021, 14:12 GMT
The Indian analyst reckons that “radical elements” in the Kashmir region have been “exploiting” the fragile security and political situation.
At least 11 civilians, many of them outsiders and belonging to Hindu and Sikh communities, have been killed in targeted shootings in the Kashmir region this month.
The killings have been claimed by a newly-formed jihadist group, The Resistance Front (TRF).
While the TRF claims that it is leading an “indigenous resistance” against the “Indian occupation,” Indian security agencies claim it is a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
According to Indian media reports, the killings have sparked fears among non-locals in Kashmir and many have fled the region fearing similar attacks by terrorists.
The TRF came into existence after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government abrogated the semi-autonomous status
of Jammu and Kashmir and stripped it of its statehood in August 2019. The decision has been protested by Kashmiri political parties and a large section of the population.
Both Prime Minister Modi and federal Home Minister Amit Shah have on several occasions claimed that the move to dissolve Kashmir’s autonomy has directly contributed to a decrease in terror incidents in the region, disputed between India and Pakistan.
Shah has even said that Article 370 was the “root cause of terrorism” in Kashmir. Article 370 was the Indian constitutional provision allowing semi-autonomy and several special rights to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
However, the rise in terror attacks on non-Kashmiri civilians this month has sparked doubts about the Modi government’s previous assurances.
“The terror groups operating in the valley never went away. They enjoy a good deal of foreign support. They operate through a network of sleeper cells, which we see are again activated,” claims Agha.
The Indian analyst, much like the Indian government, argues that militancy in Jammu and Kashmir is in Pakistan’s “interest” and is being “propped up” by Islamabad.
On numerous occasions, Pakistan has denied supporting any terrorist group operating in Jammu and Kashmir. However, it also says that it backs the right of Kashmiris to “self-determination” and has been highly critical of India's military presence in the disputed region.
17 September 2021, 12:57 GMT
‘Have Been Warning About Kashmiri Backlash’ Against BJP, Says Kashmiri Politician
Firdous Tak, the spokesperson of Kashmir's People’s Democratic Party (PDP), blames the Modi government for the present state of affairs in Kashmir, saying that the opposition parties have been warning the federal authorities about the backlash from the August 2019 decision.
“The arm-twisting methods adopted by the union (federal) government curbing all the genuine and democratic voices in Kashmir has led us to this point. Abrogating Article 370 was never an achievement of PM Modi, as he has been claiming,” says Tak.
The PDP, which once ruled over the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state, has demanded the immediate restoration of the region’s special status as well as its statehood.
At a meeting of Kashmir political organisations this year, Prime Minister Modi said that his government would restore the region’s state statehood at an appropriate time
. Jammu and Kashmir presently exists as a federally administered union territory.
Tak also challenges New Delhi’s claims that federal decisions have led to an end of terror activities in the valley.
“The militancy in Jammu and Kashmir has seen several turns and, every time, new methodologies are being adopted. It seems that the basic target this time around is the BJP’s peace facade which it has been trying to sell to the Indian voters,” he claimed.
“The repeated assertion by the Modi government that non-locals (non-Kashmiris) are interested in land, jobs and investment seems to have triggered the recent killings,” he says.
Under Article 370, non-Kashmiris were barred from owning land or property in the region.
Opposition parties now accuse the BJP of trying to implement a “demographic change” in Kashmir by trying to settle Hindus and other non-Muslim communities in the region.
The Kashmiri politician, however, refuses to believe that the Taliban victory has led to the current state of affairs in Kashmir, instead pinning the blame on the “Hindu nationalist” agenda of the BJP.
“Well, Jammu and Kashmir has never been influenced by happenings around the globe. The growing radicalisation in Jammu and Kashmir can be more connected with what is happening with minorities, especially Muslims, in the rest of the country rather than Afghanistan or Pakistan,” states Tak.
*The Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.