Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar met with Afghanistan’s deputy foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi in the capital Kabul amid tensions over border violence.
Tuesday’s visit comes a day after the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant group ended a months-long ceasefire as Islamabad raised security concerns along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
The TTP, also known as the Pakistan Taliban, has been fighting in Pakistan for more than a decade. The fighters want him to study Islamic law and the liberation of his fighters among other things.
The Pakistan Taliban, which is affiliated with the Taliban in Afghanistan, on Monday called on its fighters to launch protests across the country. “As military operations continue against the mujahideen in different areas… so it is important to carry out violence wherever you can throughout the country,” the group said.
Kabul and Islamabad were in a war of words in April after Pakistan carried out deadly attacks inside Afghanistan following an insurgency by the Pakistani Taliban.
Pakistan says the TTP enjoys a safe haven in Afghanistan – a charge denied by the Taliban, who have been supporting peace talks between the Pakistani Taliban and the Pakistani government.
It was not clear whether security issues were discussed in the meeting between Khar and Mutaqqi – Pakistan’s top envoy in Kabul since Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took office in April. Former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi visited Kabul last October.
“A range of issues including cooperation in education, health, trade and investment, inter-regional connectivity, people-to-people links and economic activities were discussed,” Pakistan’s foreign office said in a statement.
A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan said that Mr. Muttaqi also encouraged the acceleration of trade and transport and the movement of space between the two countries and the release of Afghan prisoners in Pakistan.
Pakistan this month reopened the Chaman border – the main road connecting Balochistan to Afghanistan’s Kandahar province – which had been closed due to clashes between security forces from the two sides.
The border of Chaman in the southwest and the border of Torkham in the northwest connect the landlocked country of Afghanistan with the country of Pakistan. They have served as major trade and transit routes between the two countries.
The Taliban are facing diplomatic isolation
Pakistan has not officially recognized the Taliban government, which has been facing a self-imposed secession for more than a year and a half since it took power.
No country has recognized the Taliban, who quickly and freely took over Afghanistan which shocked the world, after which President Ashraf Ghani fled the country and his government fell, in August 2021.
Foreign countries have pressured the Taliban to implement measures to restrict women and make the government more inclusive if the question of recognition can be put on the table.
But the Afghan government has increased its restrictions on women, reneging on a promise to open high schools for girls in March and implementing measures to limit women’s mobility and their jobs.
The Taliban says it respects women’s rights in line with its Islamic vision and Afghan culture. Although their interpretation of Islamic law is often considered too strict.
The UN special rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan said on Friday that the Taliban’s restrictions on women and girls could amount to a “crime against humanity”.
The high-profile meeting comes on the day General Asim Munir on Tuesday assumed the role of Pakistan’s army chief, a major change in the organization that plays a key role in controlling the nuclear-armed country.
Munir, who was appointed as the new commander last week, takes over at a time when the army has been in a political tussle between the government and former Prime Minister Imran Khan, even as the country faces economic problems.
“I’m sure it’s his [Munir’s] The appointment is for the good of the army and the country,” said outgoing commander General Qamar Javed Bajwa at a service ceremony at the Army Headquarters in the city of Rawalpindi.
Bajwa, who has been king for six years, recently drew the ire of Khan and his supporters, who said the military played a role in his ouster as prime minister in April through a no-confidence vote. The military denies any responsibility.
Meanwhile, Khan said he will continue with his campaign to force the government to hold early elections. He has also threatened to cancel the regional meetings that are being controlled by his party which will cause a problem of the constitution of the country.
Munir is facing a new security challenge after the Pakistani Taliban withdrew peacefully.