Newfound love for Taliban among indoctrinated sections in Kashmir

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The Dangers of Taliban Ideology

A significant number of Kashmiris seem to willingly embrace the Taliban ideology by welcoming their victory and offering justifications for their violent, extremist practices

J N Ahmad

Those in Kashmir who identify with Taliban ideology were pushed to the margins post August 5, 2019. They seem to have got fresh lease of life after Taliban took over Afghanistan. Those influenced by extremists religious ideology see the developments in Afghanistan as resurrection of the global jihadi forces. These ideological extremists are now building fancy dreams that the global jihadi forces shall alien with Pakistan-backed extremist forces in Kashmir and do an Afghanistan here.

Religious extremists have not been able to celebrate Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan because of the persisting fear of the state. But one can easily observe the change in body language of this particular section of Kashmir society. It is alarming to observe some select journalists and political opportunists endorsing the Taliban ideology in TV debates, social media posts and exhaustive articles online. They are unmindful of the consequences of promoting the domination of hard-core religious extremists in any part of the world. Unfortunately, such intellectual deceit provides expression to dangerous but marginalized narrative, and the consequences are borne by the entire humanity.

Pakistan Emboldened by Proxy Victory

Taliban, as the new epitome of global Islamic fundamentalism, has declared a self-styled cabinet in Afghanistan and enforced a strict version of Shariah law. In restoring the Taliban to power in Kabul, the role of Pakistan is now well known. One of the spokespersons of Taliban recently vowed to what he called “support the Kashmiris and Indian Muslims.” The assumption that the Pakistani establishment won’t use the Taliban to create trouble in Kashmir is to be naive. Pakistanis seem emboldened by this “victory” of their proxies.

There is an euphoria of sorts in Pakistan, and already there have been calls for “liberating Kashmir” on the same lines. There is also talk of the Pakistani Islamist construction of the so-called Khorasan Covenant, which implies the Ghazwa-i-Hind aimed at violently Islamizing the whole subcontinent. Such constructions are reinforced by fascist teachings of extremist ideologues. Their controversial preaching related to this subject is being propagated with ferocity. This is not the first time – nor the last, perhaps – when extremists are influenced by the developments in neighborhood and reinforce in Kashmir. During the last 30 years, we have seen them getting erased from mindspace, remerging and disappearing again wth a heavy cost upon the society. Past experience shows that trouble is on its way for us. Having suffered enormously for 30 years, we cannot afford more disturbances.

Some Kashmiri Youth tricked by Taliban Propaganda

The worrying trend is that even before Pakistan’s ISI can foment fresh trouble, a significant number of Kashmiris seem to willingly embrace the Taliban ideology. They are welcoming the Taliban victory and offering justifications for their violent, extremist practices. This new found love for the local extremists and their mentors in media and politics, combined with the dangerous Wahabi-Deobandi ideology of the Taliban, is extremely worrying. Pakistani social media handles and local secessionist supporters are spewing massive content on social media to garner support for Taliban.

It is noteworthy that Taliban is a hardcore Deobandi-Wahabi group which believes in Islamist supremacy and the most strict interpretations of Quran. It is led by a group of highly conservative Mullahs who have been nurtured in Pakistani madrasas and funded and supported by Pakistani state. Mullah Akhundzada has emerged as the new poster-boy for Islamic radicals globally. It seems that in Kashmir valley, some Kashmiri youth have been tricked in by the Taliban or Pak propaganda. These youth feel inclined towards the hardcore ideology of Taliban. They can also be seen adoring militant Salafi groups and figures like Al-Qaeda’s Bin Laden and Al Zawahiri and also Iraqi Abu Musaib al Zaraqawi, who preceded ISIS. This is ia lethal combination which can radicalize communities.

Violent, extremist ideologies must be rejected

Ideologically, Taliban’s beliefs and doctrines are similar to that of groups and organisations operating in Kashmir. For instance, the Hizbul Mujahideen and its ideological fountainhead, Jamaat e Islami (JeI), also subscribe to the same Talibani Islamism in their own ways. On many occasions in the early 1990s, Syed Ali Geelani had not only justified the armed militancy in Kashmir, but had also attempted to put it into a pan-Islamic skeleton by calling upon the Muslims of all countries, especially Afghanis, to join the ‘Jihad’ in Kashmir just as had been done in Afghanistan. The newfound attachment towards Taliban among the indoctrinated section in kashmir can also be observed through social media sites which are abuzz with praise and love for Taliban, with many messages and posts regularly condoning Taliban’s brutal practices and actions in Afghanistan.

As Kashmir grapples with its own Pakistani imposed religious fundamentalism and violent extremism, the tilt of a significant number of its youth towards the Taliban ideology of ISIS is a cause of worry. Among other destructive things, the advent of Taliban ideology coupled with the already existing extremism has the potential of greatly hurting the social harmony in the valley through the rise of sectarian hatred which lies at the heart of Talibani ideology( as Shias, Hazaras and other sectarian minorities would testify), besides fomenting existential threats to national security. We have seen the brutal acts of Taliban in Afghanistan which go against the basic tenets of humanity. The religious minorities in the valley like the Shias and Ahmadis are looking at the situation with concern. They have seen the worst of atrocities being committed against their sect members in Pakistan and Afghanistan by the brutal Taliban ideology. Like them, every Kashmiri regardless of any sect or religion cannot afford this extremely hateful and inhuman ideology. To such violent extremist ideologies, we must say a big No!

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