FM reaffirms Pakistan’s commitment to continued engagement, ties with Afghanistan

Jalil Abbas Jilani, Pakistan’s acting foreign minister, reiterated his country’s commitment to ongoing cooperation and mutually beneficial relations with Afghanistan on Wednesday.

Jilani emphasised throughout the meeting how important it is to resolve all concerns in order to promote commerce and connectivity between the two nations.

In the context of an alarming rise in terror incidents in Pakistan, Jilani’s meeting with the senior Afghan official, who also holds the position of deputy of strategic intelligence in the country’s defence ministry, takes place. According to the Centre for Research and Security Studies’ (CRSS) Annual Security Report, 789 terror attacks and counterterrorism operations in 2023 claimed the lives of over 1,500 Pakistanis.

The Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS), a think tank located in Islamabad, reports that 641 militant attacks claimed the lives of 974 individuals last year. This represents an 81% rise in terror-related fatalities when compared to 2022 figures.

When juxtaposed to the rate of terrorist attacks that had continued since 2015, the surge in terror attacks shows a changing trend. An frightening reversal occurred in 2021, which also happened to be the year that the Afghan Taliban took control of Afghanistan.

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other outlawed militant groups have been accused of carrying out horrific attacks on civilians and security forces inside Pakistan; the Afghan government has fiercely denied these accusations. Pakistan has repeatedly urged the Taliban-led Afghan government to stop using its territory as a base of operations against it.

The Afghan embassy in Islamabad had announced earlier in the day that talks on the “resolution of potential conflicts along the Durand Line and the establishment of essential facilities for people on both sides” would be covered in the sixth round of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Joint Coordination Committee (JCC).

It is important to note that tensions have been building between the two neighbouring nations as a result of an upsurge in terrorist attacks in Pakistan, which the country attributes to safe havens within Afghanistan. As a result, the caretaker government decided to remove millions of Afghan refugees who were living in Pakistan, a move that has strained relations with the Taliban government.