Friday June 21, 2024

‘Afghan soil will not be used against anyone', Taliban govt assures Fazl

JUI-F supremo's visit comes at the invitation of Afghan interim govt to discuss key bilateral issues including TTP

By Waqar Satti
January 08, 2024
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) supremo Maulana Fazlur Rehman (left) leaves for Afghanistan in this image taken from a video on January 7, 2024. — X/@juipakofficial
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) supremo Maulana Fazlur Rehman (left) leaves for Afghanistan in this image taken from a video on January 7, 2024. — X/@juipakofficial

ISLAMABAD/KABUL: Afghanistan’s acting Deputy Prime Minister Maulvi Abdul Kabir, in his meeting with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) supremo Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Sunday, reiterated that the Taliban government would not allow Afghan soil to be used against anyone amid Pakistan’s accusation of cross-border attacks.

The development came during Maulana Fazl’s meeting with Maulvi Kabir and other cabinet members.

In a declaration issued by the Fazl-led party today, the Afghan deputy PM welcomed Maulana Fazl upon his arrival in Kabul.

The cleric stressed that both countries should resolve bilateral issues through talks besides promoting cooperation in diverse fields. He added that Pakistan and Afghanistan have shared interests, therefore, both sides should further strengthen bilateral ties.

He further said that the JUI-F had not backed Pakistan’s decision to repatriate Afghan refugees.

Maulvi Kabir expressed hopes that Fazl’s visit would facilitate both sides to fortify bilateral relations and end misunderstandings. He said Afghanistan is grateful to Pakistan for hosting and facilitating Afghan refugees.

The interim deputy premier said that Kabul desires regional peace and stability, as well as strong ties with its neighbours. He added that Kabul won’t allow Afghan soil to be used against anyone.

He urged to prefer holding talks based on facts instead of rumours and negative propaganda on media. Maulvi Kabir also urged Pakistan to provide essential facilities to the Afghan refugees.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman along with a delegation comprising party leaders on Sunday reached Afghanistan on his maiden visit in nearly 10 years as part of the efforts to defuse tensions between the two countries amid a spike in cross-border attacks.

The delegation includes Maulana Abdul Wasay, Maulana Salahuddin, Maulana Jamaluddin and Maulana Salimuddin Shamzai, Maulana Kamaluddin, Maulana Idrees, Maulana Imdadullah and Mufti Abrar.

Interim Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Sardar Ahmed Jan Shakib on December 16, met the senior politician and invited him to visit Afghanistan. Later, the Taliban government's spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed Fazl's upcoming visit.

This will be Fazl's first visit since the Taliban takeover of the war-torn country following the United States withdrawal in 2021.

Fazl first visited Afghanistan in 2013 during the government of former president Hamid Karzai.

Continuous use of Afghan soil against Pakistan — an issue that Islamabad has time and again raised before the Taliban-led Afghan administration — will also be discussed during the visit, sources added.

Speaking on Geo News' programme "Jirga" Fazl said that he has the government's mandate for the Afghanistan visit.

"I believe in negotiations but one can move towards a comprehensive strategy only by looking at the ground realities for talks with TTP," Fazl said.

The visit comes at a point when ties between the two countries have gone sour in the backdrop of a spike in terror incidents in Pakistan, mostly claimed by the TTP.

Pakistan remained a theatre of terrorism and violence in the year 2023 amid internal political conflicts, socioeconomic disparities, regional instability, and rising tensions with the militant groups operating in border areas adjacent to Afghanistan.

Fazl, on the other hand, has expressed grave concern over the peace and security situation in the country after his party came under attack thrice in the last six months due to being in the cross-hairs of banned outfits over the years.

The latest was a gun attack on the politician's convoy in Dera Ismail Khan, but fortunately, he remained unharmed as he wasn't present there.

Last year in September, senior JUI-F leader Hafiz Hamdullah was injured in a blast — that wounded 10 others — in Balochistan’s Mastung area, while in July 2023, at least 40 JUI-F workers were killed in a suicide blast that targeted the party’s workers’ convention in Bajaur’s Khar.