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Tuesday January 25, 2022

Afghan team led by acting FM to arrive today

The acting FM would lead a high-level ministerial delegation to Pakistan from Nov 10 to 12.

November 10, 2021
Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Amir Khan Muttaqi
Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Amir Khan Muttaqi 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Afghanistan Tuesday announced the maiden visit of acting Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Amir Khan Muttaqi to Islamabad.

Decision by Muttaqi to visit Pakistan and also attend the Troika Plus meeting on Thursday was firmed up late Monday night. The acting FM would lead a high-level ministerial delegation to Pakistan from Nov 10 to 12. “The visit is taking place as a follow-up to Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s visit to Kabul on Oct 21, 2021.

“The exchanges will centre on Pakistan-Afghanistan relations with a particular focus inter alia on enhanced trade, facilitation of transit trade, cross-border movement, land and aviation links, people-to-people contacts, and regional connectivity,” according to a spokesperson.

Earlier in the day, a spokesman at the Afghan foreign ministry, while announcing the visit, said that accompanied by other ministers, Muttaqi would see the Islamabad talks focus on expanding economic ties, transit trade, and facilitating the refugees and migrants.

Pakistan already hosts millions of Afghan refugees, who fled Afghanistan at the time of the Soviet invasion, and has made it clear that it does not have the capacity to take in more Afghan refugees and migrants.

Earlier on Tuesday, Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry announced that the cabinet had decided that a special fund would be set up by Pakistan for Afghanistan to help tackle hunger and food crisis. Sufficient amount of wheat and rice would be sent at a time when parents are selling their children for food.

“In view of the prevalent situation, Pakistan has been urging the international community to urgently provide humanitarian assistance and economic support to alleviate the sufferings of the Afghan people. For its part, Pakistan is extending humanitarian and economic assistance to the brotherly people of Afghanistan,” said the Foreign Office.

However, the FO spokesman did not indicate whether taking advantage of his presence in Islamabad, Muttaqi would attend Thursday’s Troika Plus meeting. A senior official on Monday had told The News, “Pakistan has sent a special invitation to Mr Muttaqi to participate in Thursday’s meeting.”

Special envoys for Afghanistan from Pakistan, United States, Russia and China will attend the Troika Plus meeting on Thursday. These include Pakistan’s Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq Khan, Thomas West State Department and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Afghanistan, Russia’s Special Envoy Zamir Kabulov and Chinese special envoy Yue Xiaoying.

Both Pakistan and China are abstaining from another conference on Afghanistan in New Delhi being hosted by its NSA Ajit Doval. However, NSAs from Russia, Iran, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan will attend the Nov 10 meeting in New Delhi.

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