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December 27, 1999
Taleban does not consider India an enemy of Islam, says Mujaheed
Syed Firdaus Ashraf
"We are very happy that Indian government officials have reached Kandahar now. I hope the issue will be resolved soon between the hijackers and the Indian government," Maulvi Abdul Hakeem Mujaheed, the Taleban representative in New York, told rediff.com in a telephone interview.
Asked if he was hopeful of the crisis ending soon, he said, "I have no idea. Now it is up to the Indian government and the hijackers to decide on the matter."
Expressing dissatisfaction with the Indian government's attitude, he said, "The Taleban government was always very co-operative with the Indian government from the very first day, but they did not respond to us."
"There are many other foreign nationals who are on board that plane and all of their ambassadors contacted me or our government officials in Kandahar. But the Indian government never bothered to contact us. In fact, it was only Indian journalists who contacted me in New York."
Maulvi Mujaheed affirmed that no asylum would be given to the hijackers in Afghanistan, but he was non-committal on extradition of the hijackers to India.
He also stated that the Taleban government did not agree with the view of Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden who had said that the United States of America, Russia and India are the greatest enemies of Islam. "Osama bin Laden is only a political refugee in Afghanistan and no way can his views be those of the Taleban government," he asserted.
Asked to comment on Prime Minister A B Vajpayee's statement that India does not recognise the Taleban government, he said, "The hijacking of the plane and the Indian government giving recognition to the Taleban government are two different issues. Let's not mix them up."
He also asserted that the Taleban government would certainly take action against the hijackers if they attacked any of the passengers. "The Taleban does not believe in such kind of violence," he said.
He clarified the Taleban government's stand that they never wanted Flight 814 to land in Kandahar. But it was only at the request of the Indian government that they allowed the plane to land at Kandahar as it was running short of fuel.
Asked what the Taleban's stand on Kashmir is, he said, "We believe the issue should be resolved under the United Nations resolution."
Asked about the Taleban's stand on the Kashmiri Muslims who are fighting to secede from the Indian Union, he said the Taleban "sympathise with all Muslim brothers around the world, but we believe that the Kashmir issued should be resolved under the UN resolution".
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