Ayman al-Zawahiri: Taliban sheltering Ayman al-Zawahiri will make India wary of ties | India News

NEW DELHI: The revelation that murdered Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri was living in a Taliban hiding place when he was killed in a US drone attack it is unlikely that the India-Taliban Peace Overtureswhich recently saw the return of Indian diplomats to Kabul, but may encourage the government to be more cautious with the Taliban.
The Taliban have so far behaved their best towards India in their pursuit of international recognition, but the government knows that an al-Qaeda refuge in Afghanistan could be a boon for Pakistan-based terror groups that, according to a recent UNSC report, continue to operate training camps in Afghanistan.

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In photos: Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri killed in CIA drone strike in Afghanistan

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Zawahiri was killed on the balcony of a house in Kabul during a drone strike. (Photo credit: AFP)

The same report from the monitoring team assisting the 1988 Sanctions Committee, currently led by India, had said in May this year that al-Qaeda already had a safe haven under the Taliban and “greater freedom of action.” It also mentioned how Zawahiri regularly issued taped messages since the return of the Taliban.

In one of these video messages, released in April this year, Zawahiri weighed in on the Karnataka hijab controversy that centered on what he described as pagan Hindu democracy, calling it a tool designed to oppress the Muslims. According to the report, this video provided the first “conclusive current evidence” of al-Zawahiri’s life in recent years. “The pace of recent communication suggests he may be able to lead more effectively than was possible before the… Taliban takeover of Afghanistan‘ it read, adding that Zawahiri reportedly lived in eastern Afghanistan along the border with Pakistan.

Despite the humanitarian aid it has provided to the Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, and its decision to reopen the Indian embassy in Kabul in June, India has remained reluctant to improve its initial engagement with the government in Kabul, apparently because of the latter’s ties to terror groups. This was one of the reasons why India chose to participate at the civil service level in the recent Afghanistan conference in Uzbekistan. Unlike his counterparts in Pakistan and China, the Foreign Minister S Jaishankar also did not meet the acting Taliban foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqicwhile in Tashkent for the SCO meeting that followed the conference in Uzbekistan.

According to sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, India is also closely following reports that Pakistan may have played a role in facilitating the US drone strike on Zawahiri. “It could get complicated if that’s true, given Pakistan’s tendency to run with the hares and hunt with the dogs on terrorism,” a source said. While Pakistan is on the brink of withdrawing from the FATF’s heightened monitoring list, India believes Islamabad has still not done enough to rein in Indian-focused groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba. .

Despite his announcement of the formation of a branch of al-Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent and his statements about Kashmir, Zawahiri usually posed a distant threat to India, unlike Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed who were the Pakistan-based and UN-designated terror groups continued to lead. looking for India at every available opportunity. This is probably also the reason why India is unlikely to issue a statement about the murder of Zawahiri.
It may also be of interest to India that, according to a US media report, the house Zawahiri lived in is owned by an aide to Afghanistan’s de facto Home Secretary Sirajuddin Haqqani. The Haqqani Network, historically a fanatical anti-India group, is also the closest Taliban faction to al-Qaida. According to official sources, despite their past antipathy for India, the Haqqanis have so far done nothing that could be perceived as a security risk to India.

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