Khawaja Asif, DG ISI Meet Taliban Leadership In Kabul

Khawaja Asif, DG ISI Meet Taliban Leadership In Kabul

In another attempt to seek a peaceful resolution to security problems, a delegation led by Pakistan's defence minister Khawaja Asif visited Kabul on Wednesday. The defence minister was accompanied by DG ISI Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum.

Asif met interim deputy prime minister of Afghanistan, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. Asif's counterpart, Afghan interim defense minister Mullah Yaqoob Mujahid, was also seen in the meetings.

The surprise visit comes as Pakistan faces intense pressure from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), whose fighters claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing in a mosque at the Peshawar police lines last month, as well as a recent attack on the Karachi Police Office (KPO) which lasted for at least four hours.

Sources say the ISI chief has apparently been the subject of tough scrutiny in recent high-level security meetings, as the establishment holds him 'responsible' for the rising incidents of terrorism, and for the impasse between Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban. The federal apex committee on security, chaired by prime minister Shehbaz Sharif, has also reportedly ordered Lt. Gen. Anjum to "seek a compromise" with Taliban supreme leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada.

In late November 2022, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar visited Kabul to hold a “political dialogue” with the interim Afghan government. Her visit came at a time when the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) announced that they were ending their ceasefire with the Pakistani state.

Bilateral relations, including cooperation in the areas of education, trade and investment, regional connectivity, people-to-people contacts, and matters related to regional security came under discussion during her visit. Khar reiterated Pakistan’s continued commitment and support for strengthening peace and enhancing prosperity in Afghanistan.

“As a friend and neighbour of Afghanistan, Pakistan will reaffirm its abiding solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, in particular through its efforts to ease the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and to create real opportunities for the economic prosperity of Afghan men, women, and children,” the Foreign Office had said.