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Afghanistan crisis: ISI chief Faiz Hameed ‘rushes to Kabul’

Taliban’s struggle to form govt sparks Pakistan concern
Taliban’s struggle to form  govt sparks Pak concern ISI chief ‘rushes to Kabul’ A Taliban fighter in Kabul on Saturday.
Taliban’s struggle to form govt sparks Pak concern ISI chief ‘rushes to Kabul’ A Taliban fighter in Kabul on Saturday.
Twitter/West Asia News Agency

Reuters   |   Islamabad   |   Published 05.09.21, 02:25 AM

In a surprise move, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) director Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed on Saturday dashed to Kabul as the Taliban struggled to finalise and instal an inclusive government in Afghanistan, according to media reports here.

A delegation of senior Pakistani officials led by Hameed arrived in Kabul for discussions with the incoming Taliban government, the Pakistan Observer newspaper reported.

The ISI chief is expected to meet top Taliban leaders and commanders. “Issues relating to Pak-Afghan security, economy, and other matters will be taken up with the Taliban leadership,” the report said, quoting sources.

According to the Express Tribune, Hameed will also meet Pakistan’s envoy in Kabul to discuss the matter of repatriation and transit through Pakistan of foreign nationals and Afghans fleeing Taliban rule.

“The issue of pending requests from countries and international organisations for the repatriation/transit through Pakistan and the need to determine the mechanism through which Pakistan could allow these, in coordination with the ground authorities in Afghanistan will be discussed during the meeting with the Taliban officials,” it said quoting sources.

The intelligence chief will spend a day in the Afghan capital, the Geo News reported.

Border management is another important issue that will come under discussion during the Hameed’s visit, Geo News said.

Pakistan was often accused by the Afghanistan government of giving the Taliban military aid, a charge denied by Islamabad.

The ISI chief’s trip is the first high-level visit by a Pakistani official since the Taliban took over Kabul on August 15 in a move that surprised both their foes and friends. Since then, the insurgent group has been trying to form its government, but postponed the announcement to next week, their spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said on Saturday, as the militant group struggles to give shape to a broad-based and inclusive administration acceptable to the international community.

This is the second time that the Taliban have delayed the formation of the new government in Kabul since their toppling of the US-backed Afghanistan government.

The insurgent group was expected to announce the formation of the new government led by its co-founder Mulla Abdul Ghani Baradar on Friday, but later postponed it by a day to Saturday.

The Pakistan army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, met British foreign secretary Dominic Raab earlier on Saturday and said Pakistan will assist in the formation of an inclusive administration in Afghanistan.

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