Pakistan's Special Envoy for Afghanistan to leave on 3-day Kabul visit tomorrow

Afghan govt to effectively combat cross-border terrorism, hopes Durrani

ISLAMABAD: A senior diplomat from Pakistan expressed optimism that the Taliban government in Afghanistan would effectively combat cross-border terrorism. IN an interview with VOA, Pakistan’s special representative for Afghanistan Asif Durrani referred to recent moves by the Taliban to address Pakistan’s concerns about cross-border terrorism and the concerns of other neighboring countries, including China. However, the diplomat cautioned that it is too early to speculate on the outcome of these moves.
Pakistan has experienced a significant increase in terrorist attacks since the Taliban regained power in Kabul nearly two years ago. These attacks have become a daily occurrence, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of Pakistanis, including security forces. Pakistan maintains that these attacks are being orchestrated by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a militant group waging an insurgency against the Pakistani state and operating from Afghanistan.
The diplomat acknowledged that steps are being taken to neutralize the TTP, and he highlighted the recent announcement by the Taliban that TTP members were being relocated away from the border areas with Pakistan. He emphasized that it is crucial to wait and see the results of this relocation, as it could lead to peace along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
Pakistan had previously engaged in dialogue with TTP leaders at the request of the Taliban, but the process broke down due to what the diplomat described as “ridiculous” demands by the militants. The diplomat stated that Pakistan has exhausted the dialogue option, and now the TTP must surrender and face the law. He also noted that Pakistani military operations have deprived the TTP of territorial control, and their relocation from the border areas suggests that they have become a liability for the Afghan Taliban.
He highlighted that there are still pockets of concern in Afghanistan, including the presence of TTP, ETIM (East Turkestan Islamic Movement), and other groups. Pakistan and China hope that the Afghan government will take practical measures to address these concerns. China has designated ETIM as a terrorist group for carrying out attacks on its soil from Afghan sanctuaries.
Durrani mentioned that there is an expectation of cooperation between the Afghan Taliban and international authorities in taking counterterrorism measures, similar to the cooperation alluded to by U.S. President Joe Biden. He emphasized the need for continued dialogue and international engagement with the Taliban to reinforce positive trends and address the ongoing challenges in Afghanistan.
Regarding the situation in Afghanistan, he acknowledged that there have been restrictions on women’s access to education and public life imposed by the Taliban. He mentioned that international organizations and the United Nations have denounced these restrictions and called for an inclusive government that represents all ethnic groups in Afghanistan.
In terms of Pakistan’s relationship with Afghanistan, Asif Durrani noted that bilateral trade has increased since the Taliban’s takeover, and Afghan transit routes to Central Asian countries have also benefited Pakistan. He emphasized that if Afghanistan becomes peaceful, it can serve as a transit hub for South and Central Asia.
The diplomat concluded by mentioning the significant number of Afghan refugees who have arrived in Pakistan since the Taliban took control of Kabul. Many of these refugees worked for international forces in Afghanistan and fled the country out of fear of Taliban reprisals.