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Taliban threat to humanity: Pranab
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 18
In a clear reflection of New Delhi’s deepening concern over Pakistan's peace deal with the Taliban in Swat, India has termed the Islamic outfit as a "danger to humanity and civilisation".

In New Delhi’s first formal reaction to the disturbing developments in Pakistan, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said, “The fact of the matter is that Taliban is a terrorist organisation, which believes in nothing but destruction and violence." He was asked for his comment on the peace deal between the Pakistan government and the Taliban in Swat region to allow strict Sharia law. It is being seen as a step that amounts to Islamabad virtually surrendering its powers to the militia.

"In my assessment, Taliban is a danger to humanity and civilisation," Mukherjee emphasised, as senior Indian officials expressed fears that the deal between the Pakistan government and the Taliban could have a spillover effect.

Richard Holbrooke, US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, had already expressed his apprehension that the Taliban operating out of Pakistan posed a common threat to India, the US and Pakistan.

Maintaining that the radical outfit could not be divided into “good or bad Taliban”, the officials said the agreement would further boost the morale of fundamentalist and terrorist groups operating in Pakistan. "We are closely monitoring the developments," the officials said.

Television images of the Taliban taking out processions on the streets of Swat in a show of strength and to mark their victory against the Zardari regime represent a worrisome situation for the entire region.

Strategic experts said the fact that the Taliban was now just about 500 km away from the Indian borders was a matter of serious security concern for New Delhi.

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