New Delhi: Afghanistan's former head of the National Directorate of Security on Thursday said that Taliban is as much a threat to India as it is to the war-torn nation and has killed more South Asians than the ISIS.
Lashing out at Pakistan for "playing a proxy war" in Afghanistan through Taliban, Amrullah Saleh said it was crucial for India to stand with its South Asian "ally" in its war against terrorism.
His comments came a day after terrorists attacked the Indian consulate in Jalalabad in Afghanistan.
"Taliban has killed more Americans, Afghans and more South Asians. They have inflicted more pain on India than ISIS has done. Taliban attacks are more lethal and destroyed more vehicles every month than ISIS," Saleh said.
He was speaking at the Raisina Dialouge organised by the Ministry of External Affairs and Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
In the fourth attack since 2007, heavily-armed terrorists, including suicide bombers, struck the Indian Consulate in Jalalabad city, killing nine persons including an Afghan security personnel and causing damage to the chancery.
Saleh said the proxy war in Afghanistan was not only an international issue but also a regional issue, which also requires assistance from India.
"How India assists Afghanistan to resist the proxy war. God forbids if we fail, we (India) lose a very formidable ally in the region. So, we are fighting a war for a cause which is very humane and the whole world including India is benefiting from the sacrifice through the sacrifice our security forces make," Saleh said.
He also questioned the need to engage Taliban in a dialouge as the move will send a negative message that they are stronger.
"Why is there is an olive branch of reconciliation extended to Taliban?...Because they have offices in Karachi, bases in Quetta, they have bases in Peshawar.
"My message to India is (that) Taliban for you and for us is as much as a threat as ISIS is for the Arab world. So, we should not lose sight and be careful, regardless of what type of context we propose to Taliban for reconciliation," he said
"The moment they get space to legimitise themselves, it will further boost their standing, morale and passion for killing...More because at the end of the debate, they will say we did not get through non-violence, but violence.
"So, by bringing in that type of group into the system, which has so much of barbarism, means we are inviting violence and terror," Saleh said.
He said Pakistan has been "harbouring" Taliban insurgents and their families.
"The argument will be they (Taliban) are strong (because) Pakistan has influence over them...Because the family members of Taliban are living in Pakistan for medical reason, medical treatment for 15 years.
"They are state-sponsored political groups, they are brainwashing people," Saleh said.