ISI chief meets Hekmatyar on Kabul visit

A day after the arrival in Kabul of the head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Lt Gen Faiz Hamid, the Taliban on Sunday said that he is in Afghanistan to improve bilateral relations between Kabul and Islamabad.

Meanwhile, sources close to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of Hizb-e-Islami party, said that Hamid also met Hekmatyar, and they discussed the current situation in the country, Tolo News reported.

Earlier, Pakistani media reported that Hamid was in Kabul at the invitation of the Taliban, but the Taliban said that Pakistan had proposed his visit to Kabul.

Ahmadullah Wasiq, deputy head of the Taliban’s Cultural Commission, said the Taliban leaders talked with Hamid about bilateral relations and the problems of Afghan passengers at Torkham and Spin Boldak passes between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Tolo News reported.

“This Pakistani official has come to solve Afghan passengers’ problems at the border areas, especially in Torkham and Spin Boldak. They wanted (his visit to Kabul) and we accepted,” Wasiq said.

Asked by a reporter about his visit to Kabul, Hamid said: “Don’t worry, everything will be okay.”

Hamid also said that his country will provide technical support for Afghanistan to restart operations at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.

“Although Hamid says his visit is for Afghanistan-Pakistan issues and for the Afghan passengers, I think his trip to Kabul has caused concerns among the Afghans and it means Pakistan will recognize the government that the Taliban will announce,” said Sami Yousufzai, a journalist.

Hamid arrived in Kabul on Saturday and is the only high-ranking foreign official to visit Kabul following the Taliban’s takeover of the city, the report said.