Kashmir issue may impact Afghan talks, warns US CSIS Report

The developing situation in India-held Kashmir might negatively impact the Afghan peace process, warns a US think tank as a congressional subcommittee scheduled a hearing to review the situation in the valley.

“Pakistan has been wary of Indian intentions in Afghanistan for decades, and this turn of events in Kashmir will make Islamabad that much more mistrusting of its neighbour,” warns the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in its  report on Kashmir.

It added “Pakistan has been playing a significant role in the recent US-Afghan peace negotiations with the [Afghan] Taliban. The Kashmir issue may not only detract Pakistani resources and political will away from Afghanistan.”

The Afghan peace talks are in their final phase and the US and Taliban delegations are now holding their ninth meeting in Doha, Qatar, to finalise a deal. But reports from Doha indicate that Washington may fail to conclude a deal by Sept 1, as it had expected. The delay will further enhance Pakistan’s role in persuading the Taliban to stay engaged with the US.

Washington also expects Islamabad to convince the Taliban to hold direct talks with the Afghan government. Taliban leaders view the Kabul government as a US puppet and refuse to hold direct talks with them.

On Friday afternoon, Congressman Brad Sherman, the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Asia announced that he will soon hold a hearing on human rights in South Asia.

While US lawmakers are still trying to determine what caused the Indian government to revoke the guarantees that the Indian constitution provided to Kashmir, the CSIS report attributes it to the political ideology of the ruling BJP party.

The report notes that these guarantees “have long been an ideological sticking point for the BJP, who view India as a fundamentally Hindu nation and have qualms about a Muslim-majority state with special privileges”.



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