JUI-F MNA Defends Afghan Taliban, Says Pakistan Is 'Ourselves Responsible' For Terror Attacks

JUI-F MNA Defends Afghan Taliban, Says Pakistan Is 'Ourselves Responsible' For Terror Attacks
A key member of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) in the National Assembly forcefully defended the Taliban regime in Afghanistan on Friday, in the wake of accusations regarding its involvement – or acts of omission and 'negligence' – in recent terror attacks across Pakistan. Salahuddin is the JUI-F MNA from Balochistan’s Qilla Saifullah, and told the legislature that instead of the Afghan insurgent group, Pakistan itself was to blame for terrorist attacks and what he called "our own misdeeds".

“Is it sufficient to merely say that Afghanistan’s soil is being used [against Pakistan]? We are ourselves responsible for it. It is wrong to blame others for our own misdeeds,” Salahuddin declared, while referring to earlier statements by government ministers on the involvement of Afghanistan – ruled by the Taliban since August 2021 – in acts of terrorism in Pakistan.

Taking part in a National Assembly debate on the 30 January suicide bombing in the Peshawar police lines mosque which left over a hundred dead, Salahuddin asked critics of the Afghan Taliban to analyse how many incidents of suicide bombing and acts of terror were taking place in Pakistan before the Afghan Taliban formed their interim government in Afghanistan.

“If we have complaints [with Afghanistan], we should hold negotiations with it,” he suggested while continuing to call the Afghan Taliban – still globally ostracised and isolated despite holding the reins in Kabul – as “our brothers”.

The JUI-F lawmaker questioned as to why there were acts of terrorism taking place only in Pakistan, and not in other neighbouring countries of Afghanistan such as Iran and Turkmenistan. The right wing lawmaker was clearly oblivious to recent Taliban-Iran border clashes, as well as cross-border terror attacks in Tajikistan by Afghanistan-based groups.

In his speech on the floor of the house, Salahuddin claimed that the economic as well as security situation in Afghanistan was better than in Pakistan.

He regretted that Pakistan had kept on changing its stance about the Afghan Taliban "at the behest of world powers", adding that "Islamabad sometimes treated these Taliban as heroes, and sometimes as terrorists, as and when desired by the US".

“If the Taliban were terrorists, why were they engaged in Qatar and handed over the government in Afghanistan?” Salahuddin asked.

He urged the Taliban’s critics to do a 'comparative study' of the crime rate in Afghanistan before and after the Taliban takeover, arguing that there is “peace in Afghanistan since the Taliban established their government”. The lawmaker also appeared ignorant of how the repressive Taliban regime did not allow journalists to report on Afghanistan's law and order situation independently. He however continued to defend the Taliban, whose affiliates have been responsible for a spate of attacks targeting law enforcement and paramilitary forces especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province.