Pakistan to continue engaging with Afghanistan: FM Jilani

Minister reaffirms Pakistan’s commitment for mutually beneficial ties in meeting with senior Afghan official

Pakistan’s caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani (left) meeting with  Kandahar Governor Mullah Shirin in Islamabad on January 3, 2024. — X/@JalilJilani
  • Afghan official in Isb to mull over resolution of conflicts along border.
  • FM Jilani stresses harnessing trade and connectivity potential.
  • Minister communicates commitment for “mutually beneficial” ties.

Pakistan’s caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani Wednesday reiterated the country’s commitment to continue the ongoing engagement with Afghanistan.

The foreign minister’s remarks came after a meeting with the Afghan province Kandahar’s Governor Mullah Shirin in Islamabad.

“Reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to continued engagement & mutually beneficial ties with Afghanistan. Also stressed the imperatives of addressing all issues to harness the full potential for trade & connectivity,” Jilani wrote on his X account.

Jilani’s meeting with the senior Afghan official — who also serves as the country’s deputy of strategic intelligence of defence ministry — comes in the backdrop of an alarming increase in terror incidents in Pakistan, which, as per the Annual Security Report released by the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), saw more than 1,500 Pakistanis being killed in 789 terror attacks and counter-terrorism operations in 2023.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS) — an Islamabad-based think tank — data shows that 974 people lost their lives in 641 militant attacks last year — an 81% increase in terror-related casualties compared to the numbers in 2022.

The surge in terror attacks reflects a changing trend when compared to the frequency of terror incidents that had persisted since 2015, an alarming reversal occurred in 2021, which was coincidently the year when the Afghan Taliban had regained control in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has time again called on the Taliban-led Afghan administration to prevent its soil from being used against Pakistan and take effective measures against the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other banned militant organisations that are involved in heinous attacks on civilians and security forces inside Pakistan — an allegation vehemently denied by the Afghan side.

Earlier in the day, the Afghan embassy in Islamabad had said that the sixth round of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) was to include discussions pertaining to “resolution of potential conflicts along the Durand Line and the establishment of essential facilities for people on both sides.”

It is pertinent to know that the two neighbouring countries have been witnessing strained relations owing to increased terror attacks in Pakistan, which the country blames on safe havens inside Afghanistan, resulting in the caretaker government’s decision to expel millions of Afghan refugees living in Pakistan — a decision which hasn’t sit well with the Taliban administration.

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