Afghan Taliban seek improved relations with Pakistan


KABUL: Acting Prime Minister of the Afghan Taliban regime, Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund, has implored Pakistani authorities to halt their “cruel attitude” towards Afghan refugees, Dawn News reported on Tuesday.

Akhund conveyed his concerns during discussions with a delegation led by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, at the Presidential Palace in Kabul on Monday. According to a statement from the Taliban regime’s media department, Akhund emphasised that such attitudes only fuel frustration and opposition without resolving underlying issues.

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The acting prime minister asserted that the ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’ harbors no intentions of causing harm to Pakistan or any other nation. He underscored the commitment to prevent the use of Afghan soil against any country. The meeting, attended by figures such as Chief Justice Maulavi Abdul Hakeem Haqqani and acting Foreign Minister Maulavi Ameer Khan Muttaqi, aimed to foster positive relations between the two countries.

Mullah Akhund welcomed the nine-member delegation led by Maulana Fazl to Kabul. The visit was initiated at the invitation of the Afghan Taliban to address the strained relationship between the nations and re-establish amicable ties.

Pakistan has accused the Afghan Taliban of providing refuge to the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a claim vehemently denied by the Taliban. Instead, they have urged Pakistan to address its internal security challenges. Islamabad attributes increased TTP attacks within Pakistan to the Afghan Taliban’s ascent to power in August 2021.

Last week, the Afghan defence minister alleged that Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISKP) militants were operating from Pakistan to carry out attacks in Afghanistan. The recent deportation of nearly half a million undocumented Afghans by the Pakistan government has further strained relations, with Kabul accusing Islamabad of using the refugee issue as a coercive tool.

Maulana Fazl expressed the purpose of his visit as dispelling misunderstandings and exploring avenues to enhance cooperation in political, economic, and trade spheres. He condemned the mistreatment of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, attributing it as the root cause of the ongoing issues.

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Government officials indicate that the JUI-F leader was briefed on Pakistan’s concerns regarding the TTP’s presence in Afghanistan and the banned outfit’s activities under the patronage of the ‘IEA’ (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan). The Taliban’s statement did not address this issue explicitly, focusing instead on their commitment to prevent the use of Afghan soil for any hostile activities.

Moreover, it remains uncertain whether Maulana Fazl had discussions with leaders of banned militant outfits on the sidelines of his meetings with the Afghan Taliban leadership.

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