The Taliban-led interim government in Afghanistan has assured Pakistan that it will not support or allow its soil to be used by terror outfits, including the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), against Islamabad, expressing desire to maintain good relations between the two neighbours.
The statement came during the visit of Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Director General (DG) Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) Lt. General Faiz Hameed and other members of various ministries to Kabul.
Qureshi had expressed Pakistan’s concerns over the presence of the banned terrorist outfits in Afghanistan and their continued support to their affiliates in Pakistan, who have been carrying out terror strikes and bombings in the country.
“The interim Afghan government had given a firm assurance that it would not allow their soil to be used against Pakistan by the banned TTP and BLA,” he said.
Even though such assurances have been given by the Taliban in the past.
However, with the Taliban interim government in power, this particular assurance is a first from the interim Afghan Prime Minister Mullah Hasan Akhund.
During the visit, the two sides held delegation level talks. As per details, discussions were done on a wide-ranging subjects including security, trade, humanitarian assistance and the expectations from the international community from the Taliban led government in Afghanistan.
Qureshi, after returning from his daylong visit to Kabul, termed the visit as highly productive, stating that he could see a visible change in the current Afghan government. He said there was a clear intent to improve ties between the two countries.
“I told the Afghan Taliban government that it needed to take confidence building measures to address the concerns of other regional countries on terrorism,” he said.
“Russia had concerns over the presence of ISIS in Afghanistan; Iran had reservations over the killing of Hazara community, while China was also concerned over the presence of East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM).”
The Minister insisted that “the Afghan Taliban need to enhance cooperation with these regional countries on counterterrorism”.
Qureshi maintained that he also highlighted that the global community has some expectations from the Afghan government, which should be treated and met with priority.
“An inclusive government, women rights and denying terrorist outfits from using the Afghan soil are some of the conditions that the international community want the Taliban to meet,” he said.
Pakistan also announced that the country will keep forwarding and helping Afghanistan with humanitarian aid, announcing a Rs. 5 billion worth aid in form of pharmaceuticals or any other goods of Afghanistan’s choice.
Pakistan has also decided to open the border crossing as Chaman and Torkhan for 24 hours of trade.