The re-emergence of the Taliban threatens the peace and security of the “whole world”, an event in Brussels was told.
The stark warning came at a conference which discussed the rise of extremism in South Asia, particularly in the context of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.
Junaid Qureshi, the Executive Director of European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS), said, “Since the Taliban took over in Kabul terrorism in the region has risen. The Taliban wants to implement their kind of order but our fear is that this will merely serve to encourage terrorist groups and not only in Pakistan but in Kashmir and elsewhere.”
He was one of the speakers at a two hour hearing which also looked at the role Pakistan plays in allegedly supporting terrorism. The actions of Pakistan, which has come out in full support of the Taliban, were roundly condemned at the event which was moderated by Jamil Maqsood and hosted at the Brussels Press Club.
Qureshi said he hoped the event “will shed light on a worrying trend: the fact that terrorism is spreading from this part of Asia and is supported by Pakistan. This threatens human rights and civil society in the region and threatens the stability of the whole world.”
He said such fears were shared by those in Kashmir which, he said, was a country where its people wanted to live in “complete harmony” but which is currently “occupied by force.”
Another speaker was Andy Vermaut, of the Alliance internationale pour la défense des droits et des libertés (AIDL) and a prominent human rights activitist.
Vermaut, who is based in Belgium, said he wanted to highlight the “import of terrorism from Asian to Belgium.”
He told the event, “I was recently stunned to hear that a home made bomb was found in a west Belgian town and a Palestinian man was then detained. I congratulate the Belgian security services for their breakthrough in this case. The aim was to carry out a terrorist attack on Belgian soil. I hope the police investigation will shed more light on the attack that was going to be carried out.”
Further comment came from Manel Mselmi, an advisor to the EPP group in the European Parliament, who told the event, “I want to speak about women’s rights in the region, especially now.
“We can start with the case of Pakistan. I have a list longer than my arm of assaults against women in this country. But this is a silent epidemic as no one is talking about it. These are still referred to as honour killings but more than 1,000 women are killed in this way each year.”
She said, “There is a growth of ultra extremist views in the country. In the case of Afghanistan, the Taliban has issued new guidelines setting dowry rules for women. Women in this war ravaged country have been subject to rapes, lashings and enforced prostitution. It is estimated that a total of 390 women have been killed in the country 2020 alone. Others have been injured in cases of excessive violence against women including cases of mutilation and torture. Women and girls are stopped from going to school or having any kind of economic independence. With the Taliban now in control again the situation will get worse.”
She added, “These women sometimes escape to Europe including Belgium but political leaders sometimes avoid speaking about speaking about this issue for fear of being accused of islamophobia but these women have the right to be treated as human beings.”
Sardar Saukat Ali Kashmiri, exiled Chairman of UKPNP, also took part and said, “It is a known fact that for those who live under those who live in some Muslim countries, their fundamental rights have been compromised by the rules of those countries. I denounce this and I also denounce the forced propaganda of people like Imran Khan.
“People in Pakistan do not have the same rights as in the West and women face the worst kind of discrimination. Religion is used as a tool and terrorism is the foreign policy of these rulers, including in Pakistan.”
Belgian senator Philip Dewinter, who said he had visited the countries under the spotlight at the conference, said, “After the defeat of U.S led forces in the region we now have new possibilities of radical Muslims travelling from Europe to Syria. This will fuel international terrorism.
“The Taliban has money, experience and the means to organised these kind of people. This is a big threat and we should be aware of this threat. Our governments need to take the Taliban seriously. Dealing with them is a bad thing: we should boycott them as that is the only way to deal with the Taliban. They are a threat for the whole free world and certainly for us Western Europeans.”
“It should also be clear too that Pakistan is a terrorist state and we should not deal with them either. It is as big a threat as the Taliban.
“Pakistan supports international terrorism. It happened before in the past and it will happen again. We need a complete boycott of Pakistan as it is a terrorist state and tries to destabilise the whole region.
“People who make such comments are dismissed as racists or something similar but that is wrong to label us in such a way. An event like this can open the eyes of people to what is happening.”
He concluded, “We have the threat of mass migration again as many Afghans will come here again. I am afraid of a third refugee crisis here again. We should be well aware that the Taliban takeover with the help of Pakistan is big military, terrorist and security threat to us.
“We are with those who are resisting this and fighting the terror state of Pakistan.
“Let that be clear.”