Hailing the Taliban regime and expressing “hope” in Afghanistan, the Popular Front of India (PFI) has said what Afghanistan witnessed was Taliban’s resistance against the US occupation. “This draws similarity with resistance against the US occupation in Vietnam and Bolivia as the US was forced to retreat,” said veteran PFI leader and National Executive Council Member Parappurathu Koya.

“Most of the Western media reports on the Taliban are coloured and the picture is far from reality. The Taliban should not be viewed with prejudice. India needs to start diplomatic relations to keep Pakistan away from Afghanistan,” Koya said in an article, ‘Taliban return and future of Afghanistan’ in the online edition of the party’s mouthpiece on August 22.

According to Koya, the Afghan people were subjected to brutal persecution under American occupation. “The US-appointed Ashraf Ghani government was engaged in high corruption. This made things easier for the Taliban,” said Koya, who became a lecturer in the Department of Collegiate Education after his Masters in English language and literature from the University of Calicut.

PFI describes itself as a neo-social movement committed to empowering people belonging to the minority communities such as Dalits and other weaker sections of the society. It was launched in Kerala in 2006 after merging three Muslim organisations floated after the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992 — the National Development Front of Kerala, Karnataka Forum for Dignity and Manitha Neethi Pasarai of Tamil Nadu. Many of the leaders of the organisation from Kerala, especially the founders including Koya, were activists of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

Strength And Support

The PFI once boasted of having more than 40,000 members but the number dropped after 2010 when its activists allegedly chopped off the hand of a Kerala college professor in retaliation for “blasphemy”.

Still, with the current strength of 25,000 cadres and more than three lakh sympathisers, the PFI is a force to reckon with in Kerala. Out of the 140 Assembly constituencies in Kerala, PFI’s political wing, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), has presence in 20 seats.