‘Is Taliban a terror outfit or not’: Omar Abdullah asks Centre to decide as India initiates talks

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Updated: September 02, 2021 11:57 AM

Omar Abdullah has asked the Centre to clarify its stand on Taliban, and whether the government considers it a terror organisation.

Omar Abdullah has asked the Centre to clarify its stand on Taliban, and whether the government considers it a terror organisation.

A day after India’s first official talks with the Taliban following the latter’s return to Afghanistan, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah on Wednesday asked the Centre to clarify its stand on Taliban, and whether the government considers it a terror organisation.

“Either Taliban is a terror organisation or it is not. Please clarify to us how you (GoI) see the Taliban,” the National Conference vice president told reporters after an Indian representative in Doha met a Taliban leader on Tuesday.

This was the first officially acknowledged meeting when Indian Ambassador to Qatar Deepak Mittal met senior Taliban leader Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai and conveyed India’s concerns that Afghanistan’s soil should not be used for anti-Indian activities and terrorism.

“Is the Taliban a terrorist organisation and if it is not, will you move to the United Nations to delist it as a terror organisation. Right now, you (India) are presiding over the UN Security Council,” Abdullah, who has been a Minister of State for External Affairs during Vajpayee’s tenure, said.

Citing media reports, he questioned that if the Taliban is a terror outfit then why is the government engaging with it in Qatar. “They are engaging Taliban. It is in today’s news that you are talking to each other in Qatar. If you are talking to them, why are you asking this question to me,” he said. He was replying to a question whether India should engage with the Taliban and give it a chance.

“Either the Taliban is a terror organisation or it is not. Please clarify how you (GoI) see the Taliban,” the NC vice-president asked the Union government. He further asked how does one distinguish the Taliban from other terrorist outfits.

“If it is not a terrorist organisation, please move in the UN to remove it from the list of terror organisations. Let its bank accounts start functioning, let us not treat them differently,” Abdullah said.

The former chief minister said there should not be different yardsticks for different terror organisations. “If they are a terror organisation, why are you (GoI) talking to them? If they are not a terror organisation, why are you banning their bank accounts. Why are you not recognizing their government? Make up your mind,” he said.

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