Srinagar: A senior Taliban spokesperson has said that millions of Indians will throng New Delhi airport if the US administration offers to fly them to America and settle them there.
In an interview with India’s TV9, Sohail Shaheen, the spokesperson for the Taliban’s political office in Qatar, sought to dismiss as “propaganda” media reports claiming that millions of Afghans were fleeing the Taliban rule in their country.
Anchor: “You [Taliban] have consistently assured the people of their safety. You have also announced a general amnesty. Yet crowds of Afghans are fleeing the country. Why is that so?”
Shaheen: “If the US makes an announcement now in India that anybody who wants to relocate to America shall reach Delhi airport within three hours, you will see hundreds of thousands of people [Indians] will turn up there.”
He went on to ask the anchor, “Does that mean all of these people are terrified of your [Indian] government?”
The anchor interjects: “A large number of people gathered at the same place where the deadly explosion took place a day earlier in a desperate attempt to get out of Afghanistan. How would you respond to this?
The anchor was referring to the August 27 suicide blasts that ripped through crowds at the American-controlled Kabul airport, killing dozens, including 13 US service members. The Khorasan franchise of Islamic State claimed credit for the sickening attack.
Shaheen: “You said a large number of people turned up at the airport. This is not true.” He blamed the US announcement of evacuating people from Afghanistan for the chaos at the airport.
“Most of the people gathered at the airport had never worked with the US or its allies. They saw it as an opportunity to get out of Afghanistan and settle in Western countries,” he added.
Meanwhile amid concerns in India following his remarks that Taliban has the right to speak out in favour of Muslims anywhere, including in
Kashmir, Taliban spokesperson said, that his words were “twisted”.
“Like India is concerned about Afghan Hindus and Sikhs, thinking there is a problem, the Muslim world is too worried about Kashmir in the same context,” Shaheen was quoted as saying by the News18, reiterating that Afghanistan will not interfere in Kashmir. The spokesperson added that Taliban does not have a policy of conducting “armed operations” against any country.
Shaheen in an exclusive interview to BBC through video link on Thursday, said: “We will raise our voice and say that Muslims are your own people, your own citizens and they are entitled to equal rights under your law.” As Muslims, it was the group’s right to speak out for Muslims living in Kashmir and any other country, Shaheen said while speaking from Doha.
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