Afghan cabinet members may remain inactive: Rehman Malik

Islamabad: Former Interior Minister and Chairman Institute of Research and Reforms (IRR) Rehman Malik said that the new Afghan cabinet member may not come out in the open to play their role in government until these international restrictions and sanctions are lifted.

He said that Sirajuddin Haqqani, who has been given the Ministry of Interior, is one of the FBI’s most wanted men, due to his involvement in suicide attacks and ties with Al Qaeda. And the US State Department has offered a bounty of up to $10 million for information leading to his arrest. Afghan new cabinet consists of almost the entire cabinet of Mullah Omer and it seems as if he is back in power; Mullah Hasan the designated PM is on the top of UNSC’s terrorism blacklist including his deputy, Abdul Ghani Baradar, he added.

The former Interior Minister said that four of the five leaders known as the “Taliban Five” from the 33-member interim cabinet were once held at Guantanamo Bay and those included Mullah Mohammad Fazil the Deputy Defence Minister, Khairullah Khairkhwa the Information And Culture Minister, Mullah Noorullah Noori the Borders and Tribal Affairs minister and Mullah Abdul Haq Wasiq the Director of Intelligence and the fifth member of the group, Mohammad Nabi Omari, has been appointed as the governor of the eastern province, Khost.

“The acting Defence Minister Mullah Yaqoob, acting Foreign Minister Mullah Ameer Khan Muttaqi and his deputy Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai are all listed under the UNSC sanctions list,” he said. He said that list of cabinet members shows that out of 33, fourteen are under bounty starting from $ 5 million to $ 50 million and these notifications are intact in the UN section dealing with terrorism.

The Chairman IRR said that the Taliban had also promised an “inclusive” government including complex ethnic makeup to garner support from Tehran, but there is no Hazara member in the Cabinet and all of the Cabinet ministers consist of Taliban leaders who have fought against the US-led coalition forces since 2001. He said that it has been reported that Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Abdullah Abdullah and former President Hamid Karzai were promised certain positions in the government but according to sources close to them, they are now like hostages in Kabul and the UN must do something for their security and the safety of their lives.

Rehman Malik stressed, “I used to say in every meeting to President Hamid Karzai that there are no good or bad Taliban, but only the Taliban”. He said that Pakistan is worried about the presence of TTP’s self-exiled militants from Balochistan including Molvi Faqir Mohammed and Ikramullah the second surviving suicide bomber who escaped from the murder scene and is now present in Kunar area of Afghanistan. One good news is that Abdullah Orakzai, known as Farooq Aslam, the head of Daesh Pakistan has been killed by the Taliban and it is hoped that the Taliban will hand over Ikramullah to Pakistan, he added.

Rehman Malik further said “though Ahmed Masood has claimed to have forces to mount an effective resistance against the Taliban, and he also called on the “friends” from the west especially the United States to supply arms and ammunition to his militia and I do not think that the US will opt for any such reunification or venture of this kind in Afghanistan.” He said that Amarullah Saleh, despite all the tall claims of resistance and fight against Taliban to the last breathe, has already fled away to Tajikistan. However, NRF Foreign Relations head Ali Maisam Nazary refuted the claims saying Taliban’s claim of occupying Panjshir was false and both the leaders of NRF, Ahmad Masood and Amarullah Saleh were very much in Afghanistan; they had not fled anywhere.

Regarding the role of India, Rehman Malik said that it is very much likely that India will support resistance led by Ahmad Masood against the Taliban since the fall of the twenty years of a democratic and inclusive system in which India invested more than $3 billion, has given a tragic blow to India. It would be a very difficult move but the NRF is now the only viable option to regain its lost strategic interests in Afghanistan against Pakistan, he added.

He further said that Pakistan is in a highly vulnerable position as it is surrounded by terrorists as TTP, Al-Qaeda and Daesh are present on the border and are not far from Chitral border and India will use them for a hybrid war in Pakistan. He questioned will the US turn a blind eye towards the Afghan Taliban government or once again will put Pakistan under pressure to do more in Afghanistan and it may start the old story of “do more” syndrome. He opined that this time Pakistan must not repeat its mistake and should make a clear future policy as a joint venture with China, Iran, Russia, and Turkey. He emphasized that Pakistan should make efforts for the recognition of the Afghan government as a bloc and India may also be invited to end the unnecessary propaganda against Pakistan.

Senator Rehman Malik urged the International community and UN to immediately call upon a UN session on Afghanistan and consider deploying a “peacekeeping force” to avoid chances of dead bodies like in Eastern Syria. He said that he would like to present two proposals for every stakeholder in the Afghan government; first that the Taliban government should become moderate and give women their rights of education, media, and job opportunities because if females could fight on the battlefield of Uhud then why not they could work in the buildings of Afghanistan and second, Taliban should announce a general amnesty for everyone like our Prophet (PBUH) did, after the victory of Makkah.

Senator Rehman Malik concludes that Pakistan may create a bloc of five powerful countries for proposed recognition, subject to certain conditions and the emotional claims from some of the authorities in Pakistan must come to end as these will be harmful in the long run. He said that let the world appreciate that China pledged 31 million dollars of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and Pakistan has also delivered medicines via PIA and let us hope other countries will also come forward to do the needful for the people of Afghanistan.