Yusuf al-Qaradawi Mediated in Taliban-U.S. talks backed Kashmir jihad
Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a Doha-based Islamist scholar who once called on his followers to back jihadist groups in Jammu and Kashmir, has emerged as a key mediator in secret talks between the U.S. and the Taliban, government sources have told The Hindu.
In 2009, Mr. al-Qaradawi had issued a fatwa, or religious edict, asserting that “the Kashmiris were properly fighting jihad against the Indian army.” The jihad was legitimate, he argued, since mujahideen groups sought to create an Islamic state. Therefore, the edict concluded, it was incumbent on all Muslims to help Kashmiris gain their “freedom from Indian aggression.”
New Delhi, Indian diplomatic sources said, has been warily watching Mr. al-Qaradawi’s emergence as peace broker — fearful that his growing influence could help regional jihadist groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad find new sanctuaries in a rapidly changing West Asia or a future Afghan regime which includes the Taliban.
Road map for deal
Earlier this month, the sources said, Mr. al-Qaradawi helped draw a road map for a deal between the Taliban and the United States, aimed at giving the superpower a face-saving political settlement ahead of its planned withdrawal from Afghanistan which is due to begin in 2014.
In return for the release of prisoners still held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay, the lifting of United Nations sanctions on its leadership and its recognition as a legitimate political group, the Taliban was expected to agree to sever its links to transnational organisations like al-Qaeda, end violence and eventually share power with the Afghan government.