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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday conveyed a “clear message” and its “deep concerns” to the interim Afghan government of the Taliban with regard to the constant threat posed by the Afghanistan-based banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Islamic State – Khorasan Province (ISKP) to its security and economic stability.

A high-level Pakistan delegation led by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif visited Kabul on 22 February 2023, Foreign Office said in a statement.

The delegation included Director General Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum, Pakistan’s Special Representative to Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq, Foreign Secretary Dr Asad Majeed Khan and Pakistan chargé d’Affairs to Afghanistan Ubaidur Rehman Nizamani who had earlier survived an assassination attempt in December last year during an attack at Pakistan’s Embassy’s compound in Kabul.

The official handout issued by Foreign Office stated that the delegation met senior leadership of the interim Afghan government including Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Beradar Akhund, Defence Minister Mawlavi Mohammad Yaqoob Mujahid, Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, and Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.

“Matters relating to the growing threat of terrorism in the region, particularly by TTP and ISKP came under discussion. The two sides agreed to collaborate to effectively address the threat of terrorism posed by various entities and organisations,” it stated. It added that the two sides agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation in various fields to further enhance the fraternal relations between the two countries.

The visit of the delegation comes following the recent rise in terror attacks, particularly against the security forces by the banned TTP and ISKP – both based in Afghanistan.

Following January 30, 2023, deadliest suicide attack in Peshawar Police Lines, in which more than 100 people were killed majority police personnel, informed sources said that a “principled” decision was taken to take “concrete” steps and counterterrorism measures to eliminate terrorism.

Prior to that, the sources maintained that a decision was taken at the civil and military level to hold talks with the Taliban’s interim government in Afghanistan and convey a “clear message” and “deep concerns” about the constant threat posed by the TTP and ISKP to the country’s security and economic stability.

The sources further maintained that Wednesday’s visit was also followed by at least two previous unannounced trips by high-level authorities to Afghanistan following the Peshawar Police Lines terrorist attack, which was claimed by TTP affiliated banned Jamaat-ul-Ahrar. “The main objective of the discussion with the Afghan interim authorities was to convey Pakistan’s deep concerns over the rising terrorist incidents being perpetrated by the TTP, which is based in Afghanistan,” according to an official source.

In a separate statement issued after the Wednesday trip by the high-level Pakistani delegation, the Afghan interim government stated that during the meeting with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Akhund, the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, the two sides discussed economic cooperation, regional connectivity, trade, and bilateral relations. “Pakistan and Afghanistan are neighbours and should get along well. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan emphasizes the development of commercial and economic ties with Pakistan as they are in the interest of both countries,” the statement quoted Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Akhund to have said during the meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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