Officially, India rejects that it is in touch with the Taliban*. “[…] We are looking at the evolving situation in Kabul as the Taliban and its representatives have come to Kabul and I think we need to take it from there,” Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said this week, when asked if Delhi was in touch with the Taliban.
A Taliban official on Wednesday lauded the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) after one of its members praised the insurgent outfit for the takeover of Kabul in a video statement.
The Taliban official said that he first saw the video on social media and was soon in touch with the AIMPLB. Agha claims that the Taliban now “regularly” communicates with the Indian group’s members.
The AIMPLB describes itself as a leading voice representing the opinion of India’s 200 million Muslims. It also claims to be a “protector” of Sharia in India, as instituted under the Muslim Personal Law Application Act of 1937.
In a widely circulated video this week, AIMPLB member Maulana Sajjad Nomani heaped praise on the Taliban for defeating the “world’s strongest force” despite being short of funds and weapons.
“Success against an oppressor doesn’t only depend on having advanced weapons and other military technology. It depends on the willingness to sacrifice,” the Indian Muslim leader said.
The video triggered a strong backlash in the South Asian nation, prompting a clarification from the AIMPLB, which disowned Nomani’s comments on Afghanistan’s security situation.
Besides Nomani, a federal lawmaker from the regional Samajwadi Party has also backed the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban.
Shafiqur Rahman Burq, an MP from India’s most populous Uttar Pradesh state, said on Monday that the “Taliban wants Afghanistan to be free and run their own country”.
Burq’s remarks drew sharp reaction from Yogi Adityanath, the influential state chief and one of the tallest leaders in India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).