In an attempt to secure the release of slain engineer K Suryanarayana, it has been learnt that the Ministry of External Affairs tried to contact the Taliban [ Images ] network through Indian sources in Afghanistan. According to a diplomat, "The Indian embassy contacted the international forces and top leaders of the Taliban through our (Indian) sources."
He, however, refused to elaborate if the Pashtun network in Pakistan, linked to the Taliban, was contacted or not.
According to B Raman, the noted counter-terrorism expert, the Taliban is an almost exclusively Pashtun organisation, and its leadership, command and control are based in Pakistan's Pashtun areas.
He said, "The government of Pakistan and the Pashtun leaders of Pakistan, like Maulana Fazlur Rahman of the Jamaat-ul-Ulema Islam, have greater influence over the Taliban than the Karzai Government."
It has been argued that the government of India [ Images ] should have immediately worked through the Pakistan-Afghanistan Pashtun network by contacting officials of the Government of Pakistan and the individuals like Rahman.
However, sources in the MEA refused to elaborate if Pakistan-based leaders well-linked to the Taliban were contacted or not.