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Afghanistan-Pakistan: New Axis of Terror

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A new axis of terror is emerging in the Af-Pak theatre with the convergence of interests between Pakistan, China and Turkey. The Taliban is ready to play ball with the trio. There is no smoke screen any longer.

Pakistan has dropped all pretentions of being a good ally of the West despite the need for an American safety net on a host of issues that have a direct bearing on its fragile economy. This became clear towards the end of June when Prime Minister Imran Khan and his finance minister Shaukat Tarin rolled back their commitments for IMF bailout. And Imran Khan went to the town declaring that his centrist Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) – government (PTI in Urdu stands for Pakistan Movement for Justice) would not give any base to the American forces. In the same breath he declared Osama bin Laden a martyr and ruled out any criticism of China’s treatment of its Uighur Muslims.

The Afghan Taliban have since played down China’s concerns vis-à-vis the Uighur Muslims, who trace their religious influence to the Karakhanid, a Turkic fiefdom that ruled Central Asia eight centuries ago. Beijing’s worry is that under Taliban rule, Afghanistan will become a hub for the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which is waging Uighur insurgency. “We will no longer allow China’s Uighur separatist fighters (from Xinjiang).” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said in a widely circulated interview to the relief of Chinese supremo Xi Jinping.

Shaheen conceded that some Uighur militants had previously sought refuge in Afghanistan. He, however, promised not to host them. China heard such assurances from........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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