Amid the rapidly unfolding events following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, India on Thursday flagged “heightened activities” of the proscribed Haqqani network and said other Pakistan-based terrorist groups such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed continue to operate with “impunity and encouragement”.
Addressing the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said the events in Afghanistan “have naturally enhanced global concerns about their implications for both regional and international security”.
“The heightened activities of the proscribed Haqqani network justifies this growing anxiety. Whether it is in Afghanistan or against India, groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed continue to operate with both impunity and encouragement,” Jaishankar said at a high-level UNSC briefing on ‘Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts’. India holds the current presidency of the UNSC.
“It is, therefore, vital that this Council does not take a selective, tactical or complacent view of the problems we face. We must never countenance sanctuaries for terrorists or overlook their raising of resources. And when we see state hospitality being extended to those with innocents’ blood on their hands, we should never lack the courage to call out their double-speak,” said Jaishankar, who chaired the meeting.
The UNSC briefing considered the 13th report of the Secretary General on the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to international peace and security. The August 3 report states that ISIL-Khorasan (ISIL-K), a self-proclaimed branch of the ISIL, has expanded its presence in several provinces of Afghanistan and strengthened its positions in and around Kabul.
Jaishankar said the ISIL-K is constantly seeking to expand its footprint in India’s immediate neighbourhood.
He told the Council that ISIL’s modus operandi has changed, with the core focusing on regaining ground in Syria and Iraq and affiliates functioning independently. “This evolving phenomenon is extremely dangerous and poses a new set of challenges to our collective efforts in our fight against ISIL and terrorism,” he said, adding, “We must never compromise with this evil.”
In a swipe at China, Jaishankar told the Council that countries should not place blocks and holds without any reason on requests to designate terrorists, warning that any double standards and distinctions between terrorists would be made only at “our own peril”.
Jaishankar alluded to his remarks to the Council made in January, when he had proposed an eight-point action plan aimed at collectively eliminating the scourge of terrorism.
“Summon the political will: don’t justify terrorism, don’t glorify terrorists, no double standards. Terrorists are terrorists, distinctions are made only at our own peril. Don’t place blocks and holds on listing requests without any reason,” he said.
This was in reference to China repeatedly placing technical holds on bids by India and other nations to designate Masood Azhar, head of the Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed, as a global terrorist.
Jaishankar said that the international community holds a collective view that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations must be condemned. “In spite of the progress we have made to tighten the legal, security, financing and other frameworks to combat terrorism, terrorists are constantly finding newer ways of motivating, resourcing and executing acts of terror. Unfortunately, there are also some countries who seek to undermine or subvert our collective resolve to fight terrorism. That cannot be allowed to pass,” he said, adding, “It is also important, therefore, to end the stalemate preventing the adoption of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, which India has championed for so long.”
He also drew parallels between the Covid-19 pandemic and the scourge of terrorism, telling the 15-nation UN body that “let us always remember that what is true of Covid is even more true of terrorism: none of us are safe until all of us are safe.”
Speaking at the UNSC meeting, Davood Moradian, Director General of the Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies, who escaped from Kabul as the Taliban took control of the country, said one of the passengers who fell to the ground from a US plane that was taking off was reportedly a member of Afghanistan’s national football team.