External forces still supporting Taliban: Afghan leader Abdullah

New Delhi, Feb 4 (IANS) Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah on Thursday said certain external forces were still supporting the Taliban in pursuit of their vested interests.

He said the terror group’s dream of capturing power in his country after the withdrawal of foreign troops had come to a naught.
Abdullah, who held a breakfast meeting with a group of Indian and foreign journalists, said Pakistan had a role in Taliban affairs and can use its influence for the success of the quadrilateral peace talks in Afghanistan aimed at preserving its unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The chief executive, who held wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, said Taliban were confident of capturing powers in 2015 when the US troops left Afghanistan but failed in their mission.
The Afghan security forces have gained in strength and are now capable of taking on the Taliban and other extremist groups, Abdullah said.
He said factional fighting in the Taliban had caused chaos and confusion in its ranks. Hundreds of fighters have been killed in groups clashes and some of the factions have joined Daesh, the Afghan leader said.
On Pakistan’a allegation that the attack on Bacha Khan University on January 20 was committed by terrorists operating from the Afghan soil, the chief executive said after Pakistan army launched a massive operation in the tribal belt of that country, scores of fighters moved into Afghanistan and are operating from areas under the control of Afghan Taliban.
He said East Turkistan Movement terrorists have also taken shelter in Afghanistan along with central Asian fighters.
Abdullah said India is a valued friend of Afghanistan and played a prominent role in the reconstruction of his country. “We want Indian to play more prominent and active role.”
He said India is already taking part in talks in Berlin regarding Afghanistan.
On the attack on the Indian consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan in which Pakistan army is allegedly involved, he said his country had shared information with India on the issue.
“However, it is not appropriate to divulge it at this juncture when the probe is still on,” Abdullah said.
He said Afghanistan had acquired helicopters from India to fight the Taliban in some parts of his country.
(Sheikh Manzoor is a Delhi-based freelance journalist. He can be contact at [email protected])