NOWSHERA: The Afghan Taliban have announced that they would support Pakistan against any threat by the Trump administration, pledging to stand by the government in case of any aggressive design pursued by the United States against the country.

Surprisingly, the announcement was not made public by the Emarat Islami Afghanistan, the official name of the Afghan Taliban, and was released by Maulana Samiul Haq, chief of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, from Akora Khattak where he runs his madressah.

According to the statement, the Ittehad Ulema-i-Afghanistan — a little known entity — had after a meeting announced their support for Pakistan against an American aggression.

The meeting between the Afghan Taliban and Emarat Islami Afghanistan held under the banner of `Ittehad Ulema-i-Afghanistan’ was led by Mufti Mehmood Zakri. Representatives of various groups and religious organisations reportedly attended the meeting. It was not clear how those religious leaders are different from the Afghan Taliban.

Later, they sent a written statement to Maulana Haq, extending full support to Pakistan in case of an attack by the US or India. They said they would fight for Pakistan like they had rendered sacrifices for their own country [Afghanistan].

They urged Pakistani political and religious parties to shun their differences and forge unity among their ranks.

They also vowed that the Afghan Taliban would continue their jihad in Afghanistan and would struggle for the implementation of Islamic system in their country.

They condemned the inhuman treatment being meted out to Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and urged the Muslim countries to raise their voice in their support to stop their genocide.

Maulana Haq, who has been for decades known to wield influence on Taliban, has lost the position in recent years. He urged Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal to appreciate the Afghan Taliban’s announcement.

Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2017

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