ISLAMABAD: Afghanistan’s interim foreign minister arrived in Islamabad on a three-day visit after the Taliban took control of Kabul in August, the Pakistani foreign office said, saying discussions would focus on enhanced trade, cross-border movement, land and aviation links, and regional connectivity.
This is the first visit of Amir Khan Muttaqi, the top Afghan diplomat, to Pakistan since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan on August 15.
Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi visited Kabul last month, announcing that a Taliban delegation would soon visit Islamabad.
Pakistani foreign office on Wednesday said in a statement that Qureshi would inaugurate a troika plus meeting in which special representatives and envoys for Afghanistan from China, Russia, the United States and Pakistan would participate.
“Pakistan attaches high importance to the Troika Plus mechanism on the situation in Afghanistan. Pakistan hopes that deliberations of the Troika Plus meeting would contribute to the ongoing efforts for achieving lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan,” the FO statement said.
While Islamabad has not formally recognized the Taliban as Afghanistan’s legitimate rulers it is among a handful of countries that have retained diplomatic presence in Kabul.
Confirming the visit, Pakistan’s envoy to Kabul Mansoor Ahmed Khan called it "extremely significant."
“Pakistan and Afghanistan are close neighbors who cherish an important relationship which is rooted in common border, history, culture and religion,” he told Arab News. “It is an important visit in the current scenario when Afghanistan faces serious economic issues that can lead to a major humanitarian disaster.”
Khan said Pakistan’s foreign minister had led a high-level delegation to Kabul on October 21 to figure out how his country could meaningfully assist Afghanistan in the current scenario.
“At that occasion, we also invited the Afghan side to visit Islamabad to discuss bilateral contacts by focusing on humanitarian engagement, trade, transit and people-to-people movement between the two countries,” the Pakistani envoy said.