Talks On TTP: JUI-F Chief Fazl To Leave For Afghanistan Today

The Afghan interim government had delivered an invitation to the JUI-F chief last month to visit the country.

Talks On TTP: JUI-F Chief Fazl To Leave For Afghanistan Today

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) chairman Maulana Fazlur Rehman will make his first visit to Afghanistan in over ten years today (Sunday).

Outlawed outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Pak-Afghan bilateral ties, and other issues will come under discussion during the visit, the sources said.

On December 16, Interim Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Sardar Ahmed Jan Shakib met with a senior politician and asked him to visit Afghanistan. Later, Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban government's spokesperson, confirmed Fazl's forthcoming visit.

This will be Fazl's first visit to the war-torn country since the Taliban took charge after the United States left in 2021.

Fazl first visited Afghanistan in 2013, under previous President Hamid Karzai's government.

According to reports, former National Assembly member Jamaluddin Mehsood would accompany the JUI-F chairman on the trip.

The continued use of Afghan territory against Pakistan—a concern that Islamabad has repeatedly highlighted with the Taliban-led Afghan government—will also be discussed during the visit, according to sources.

Fazl stated on a private news channel that he had the government's mandate to visit Afghanistan.

"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 time when relations between the two countries have soured due to a surge in terror incidents in Pakistan, most of which have been claimed by the TTP.

In 2023, Pakistan witnessed a sudden increase in terrorism and bloodshed due to internal political problems, socioeconomic inequality, regional instability, and escalating tensions with militant organizations.

Fazl, on the other hand, has voiced deep concern about the country's peace and security situation after his party was attacked three times in the previous six months owing to being in the crosshairs of outlawed groups throughout the years.

The most recent was a gun attack on the politician's vehicle in Dera Ismail Khan, but he was uninjured since he was not present.

Last September, JUI-F leader Hafiz Hamdullah was injured in a bomb in Balochistan's Mastung district, which also injured ten people, and in July 2023, at least 40 JUI-F members were killed in a suicide blast targeting the party's workers' convention in Bajaur's Khar.