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Tuesday April 16, 2024

Pakistan, Afghan officials to hold crucial talks as TTP terror spikes

Taliban delegation headed by Kandahar governor is in Pakistan in a bid to curb tensions between two nations, sources say

By Azaz Syed
January 03, 2024
Afghan security personnel (R) and Pakistani border policemen stand guard at the zero point Torkham border crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan, in Nangarhar province on December 6, 2023. — AFP
Afghan security personnel (R) and Pakistani border policemen stand guard at the zero point Torkham border crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan, in Nangarhar province on December 6, 2023. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: A high-level delegation of the Taliban-led Afghan government has arrived in Islamabad to hold talks with Pakistani officials as part of the efforts to reduce the tensions between the two countries amid a rise in Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan's (TTP) terror activities in the country, sources told Geo News.

According to the sources, the delegation — led by senior Taliban leader Kandahar Governor Mullah Shirin Akhund — arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday to attend the Joint Coordination Council (JCC) meeting.

The sources added that officials and dignitaries from both sides will deliberate on ways to reduce tensions between the two countries during the JCC meeting. 

"Pakistani officials will take up the issue of banned groups using Afghan territory against Pakistan during the meeting. The issue of terrorists' safe havens in Afghanistan will also be discussed," the sources told Geo News.

The sources added that the Pak-Afghan border fence, the Chaman border and visa-free movement will also come under discussion in the meeting.

The delegation will also hold bilateral talks with Pakistani officials during their visit and also hold a meeting with Pakistan's Special Representative for Afghanistan Asif Durrani, the sources stated.

More meetings with the Foreign Office and military officials are also expected during the Afghan delegation's high-profile visit.

The Afghan delegation in Islamabad consists of nine to 10 members including Afghan defence and information ministers, and intelligence officials.

The visit comes amid a spike in terror incidents in Pakistan with Islamabad publicly criticising Kabul over its failure to take action against the militants using its soil to launch cross-border attacks.

Fazl invited for visit to Kabul

As efforts speed up towards mending Pak-Afghan ties, Kabul extended an invitation to Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUIF) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman for a visit to Afghanistan over their country's prevailing situation.

Fazl, too, has indicated the likelihood of his visit a day earlier. He further said that he could not undertake his visit earlier due to the ongoing election scenario in the country.

"We share cultural and religious ties with them. We are one and the atmosphere of mistrust between the two countries must end.”