Taliban is same with new partners, says CDS Rawat

New Delhi, Aug 25: The Taliban is the same as it was 20 years ago, only its partners have changed, Chief Of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said on Wednesday adding that takeover of Afghanistan was anticipated but the timeline was surprising.

Speaking at discussion on “The India-US Partnership : Securing the 21st Century, organised by the Observers Research Foundation, he also said India was already preparing a “contingency plan”. He did not elaborate who the new partners were.

“Everything that happened is something that was anticipated, only the timeline has changed,” General Rawat said.

“We were anticipating the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. We were concerned how terrorist activities from Afghanistan could overflow into India. Our contingency plans are ongoing and we have prepared for that…” he said.

“The timeline has certainly surprised us because we were anticipating this happening a couple of months down the line”.

He also said that the Taliban was the same as it was 20 years ago.

“It is the same Taliban that was 20 years ago, the news reports and reports from expats are all telling us this is the same Taliban. All that has happened is that its partners have changed. This is the same Taliban with new partners,” he said.

The Chief of Defence Staff however did not elaborate who the new partners were. The comments come as it has been said that the Taliban this time will be different and more liberal from its last regime.

India, which has been facing the brunt of terror emanating from Pakistan, is concerned over the spillover of terrorist groups from Afghanistan in India, specially in Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan has also been accused of supporting the Taliban.

A leader of Pakistan’s ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government Neelam Irshad Sheikh reportedly said that the Taliban would help the country in ‘liberating’ Kashmir from India during a T.V. news debate. He was seen supporting the Taliban in a viral news clip of a T.V. debate.

Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan on August 15 shocked the world. Concerns have been raised over its impact on the terror situation in India, specially Jammu and Kashmir.

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