The interim foreign minister of the Taliban government in Afghanistan is expected to visit Pakistan in the coming days as part of efforts by the two sides to reset their ties in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, a media report said on Saturday.
Amir Khan Muttaqi was invited last month by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi during his visit to Kabul.
This will be the first visit by the interim Afghan foreign minister to Pakistan since the hardline Islamists took control of Afghanistan on August 15.
The visit of Muttaqi in the coming days to Pakistan was on the cards as both sides were in contact to finalize details, official sources told The Express Tribune.
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Muttaqi is a senior Taliban leader who took part in negotiations with the US about the withdrawal of American troops from war-torn Afghanistan.
The Afghan minister will be accompanied by several senior Taliban officials to discuss a wide range of issues with Pakistani authorities, the sources said. However, the visit should not be seen as a formal recognition of the Taliban government in Afghanistan, they said, adding that the details of the visit were not made public immediately.
Though Pakistan has not formally recognised the Taliban government, it is one of the few countries which maintain their diplomatic mission as well as envoy in Kabul.
Last month, a media report said that Pakistan has quietly allowed the Taliban-appointed “diplomats” to take charge of the Afghan embassy and consulates in the country.
The sources said the likely visit by Muttaqi was part of the ongoing engagements by Pakistan with the Kabul administration.
Pakistan feels that the engagement opposed to the dis-engagement is the best way forward in dealing with the current situation of Afghanistan.
However, a senior official said that Pakistan shared concerns of the international community that the Taliban government needed to fulfil the commitments they made.
Those commitments include an inclusive government, protecting women’s rights and not allowing the Afghan soil to be used again by any terrorist outfit.
The official, while speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the Taliban government also understood the international community’s concerns and was willing to address them but there were some issues when it came to the interpretation of the inclusive government.
The sources said that the interim Afghan foreign minister along with other officials was invited to Islamabad to discuss a host of issues, covering the bilateral relationship.
For years Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan had been marred by mistrust.
But Qureshi, after his October 21 visit to Kabul, reported a “visible change” in the approach of the interim Taliban government.
He told a news conference at the time that the new administration was ready to take steps to improve the ties, something the previous government was reluctant to do.
The Afghan Taliban also gave firm guarantees that they would not allow groups such as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) to launch attacks from Afghan soil against Pakistan, the report said.
Pakistan has been trying to convince the world to diplomatically engage with the Taliban after they establish their de-facto control on Afghanistan on August 15. However, the world is skeptical about them and looking to judge them on promises to respect human rights before any kind of recognition.
Afghanistan has been under Taliban rule since August 15 when the Afghan militant group ousted the elected government of President Ashraf Ghani and forced him to flee the country and take refuge in the UAE.