The Taliban on Thursday urged India and Pakistan to refrain from taking steps that could lead to violence and complication in the region, Hindustan Times reported.
The statement came amid rising hostilities between the countries after New Delhi revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated it into two Union Territories. The Taliban added that the rift over Jammu and Kashmir should not be linked to the situation in Afghanistan.
In a statement, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid urged both countries to “refrain from taking steps that could pave a way for violence and complications in the region and usurp the rights of Kashmiris”. The Pakistan Army has said it is prepared to go to any lengths to fulfill its “Kashmir obligations”.
“Having gained bitter experiences from war and conflict, we urge peace and use of rational pathways to solve regional issues,” Hindustan Times quoted Mujahid as saying.
Zahid Nasrullah Khan, Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan, reportedly said at a press conference earlier this week: “What kind of a deal is this that the Afghans enjoy and celebrate peace in Kabul, but in Kashmir, blood is shed? No, this is not acceptable for us.”
The Taliban, however, rejected this comparison. “Linking the issue of Kashmir with that of Afghanistan by some parties will not aid in improving the crisis at hand because Afghanistan is not related nor should Afghanistan be turned into theatre of competition between other countries,” Mujahid said.
The Taliban statement also called on international institutions to play a constructive role in preventing insecurity in Kashmir.
On Monday, India revised Article 370 of Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and ordered all laws to be applicable in the region the way they are in the rest of the country. The contentious law had so far ensured that the state had its own laws, flag and a Constitution.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday expressed concern over the restrictions imposed in parts of Jammu and Kashmir since Sunday night, and said it could “exacerbate the human rights situation” in the region.
Pakistan, which has fought three wars with India over Kashmir, responded to the decision by downgrading diplomatic ties, suspending bilateral trade, and halting the Samjhauta Express and Thar train services between the two countries. India said Pakistan’s reaction was meant to present an “alarming picture” of bilateral relations to the international community. India added that Jammu and Kashmir was its integral part and hence the developments in the region were its internal matter.