Pakistani support of the Taliban as well as other militant networks has led to many terrorist attacks in Pakistan and India, a state-run Chinese daily said Wednesday, fearing that “in future, jihadist networks may undertake major attacks” in China.
An article in the Op-Ed section of the Global Times said the broader problem is that sponsorship of militant networks can have “wide-ranging, unpredictable outcomes”.
“Elements of the US supported mujahideen eventually came to constitute part of the Taliban, giving harbour to enemies of the US,” it said.
“Pakistani support of the Taliban as well as other militant networks has led to many terrorist attacks in Pakistan and India. In the future, jihadist networks may undertake major attacks in Xinjiang and other parts of China,” the daily added.
In February this year, at least 20 people died in violence in Xinjiang.
The authorities said a group of what it described as terrorists attacked people on a busy shopping street near the city of Kashgar, killing 13 people. Police shot dead seven of the attackers.
The article said that whether or not elements of the Pakistani Taliban are using Afghanistan as a safe haven, border conflicts will continue to create problems between Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the US.
“Afghanistan has neither the interest nor the capacity to spend much time worrying about Pakistan’s problems.”
The daily said that historically, insurgents have often used porous borders to protect themselves from better armed, better equipped regular armies.
“Since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Taliban militants have operated on both sides of the border, using Pakistan as a base for rest, recruitment, and planning. The Americans have complained bitterly about Pakistani harboring of insurgents, especially the Haqqani network, which has long been considered `irreconcilable’ by the US,” it added.
It went on to say that Pakistan has had “little interest in cracking down on cross border movement, not least because the Afghan Taliban remains popular in Pakistan. Pakistan also depends on radical jihadist groups to carry out its irregular war against India in Kashmir”.
It cautioned that heavily armed bands of young, enthusiastic men undercut state power and authority, however attractive such networks may appear in the short term.
“Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India should take note, just as China and the US should closely monitor the development of new militant groups along the Durand Line.”
Durand Line is the porous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.