Breaking News

Pakistan And Afghan Taliban Met In Doha To Discuss Bilateral And Regional Relations

Pakistan And Afghan Taliban Met In Doha To Discuss Bilateral And Regional Relations

In a recent diplomatic move following Islamabad’s announcement of an operation against terrorists based in Afghanistan, a delegation from the Afghan Taliban, led by spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid, met with Pakistani diplomats during the Doha-III conference.

The traditionally close relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been strained by frequent cross-border attacks, primarily attributed to the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which Pakistani security officials claim operates from Afghan territory.

Read more: Afghanistan Threatens Retaliation Against Pakistan Over Cross-Border Attack Remarks

The Afghan interim government’s representatives attended the Doha talks to increase engagement with Afghanistan and develop a coordinated response to economic and counter-narcotics issues. They were scheduled to meet with UN officials and over 20 envoys, including the US special representative to Afghanistan, as the international community grapples with its approach to Kabul’s new rulers.

During their visit, Pakistani Ambassador to Qatar Muhammad Aejaz hosted a dinner for the Afghan Taliban delegation at his residence in Doha, attended by senior diplomats such as Pakistan’s Special Representative on Afghanistan Asif Durrani and Deputy Head of Mission in Kabul Ubaid Ur Rehman Nizamani. Durrani shared photos of the occasion on social media, discussing the Doha-III conference and bilateral and regional issues.

Aejaz also commented on the meeting, expressing delight at hosting the Afghan interim government and Pakistan delegations and highlighting the common desire for regional peace and security.

Diplomatic sources told that the meeting between the two sides was “unusual,” with Afghan Taliban representatives also meeting an Indian delegation in Doha. The sources described the latest diplomatic engagement as positive, with the Afghan interim government representatives thanking Islamabad for supporting Kabul’s stance in the Doha conference and on a national level.

Mujahid wrote on social media about the meeting, expressing gratitude for the hospitality and hope for constructive relations between the two countries.

From a diplomatic standpoint, the gathering of high-ranking officials from neighboring South Asian states seems to be an effort to improve relations by discussing bilateral issues.

Last week, the federal government approved Operation Azm-e-Istehkam, a new national counter-terrorism drive aimed at eliminating terrorism in Pakistan. Federal Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif criticized the Afghan government for its inaction against militants along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in interviews. He mentioned that Pakistan might target terrorist hideouts across the border in Afghanistan and dismissed the possibility of negotiations with the outlawed TTP.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif clarified that the new operation was not a large-scale military campaign and would not cause population displacement. During the Afghan Taliban rule, Pakistan conducted intelligence-based operations in border regions inside Afghanistan against terrorists from the Hafiz Gul Bahadur Group, responsible for multiple attacks, including the March 16 attack in Mir Ali, North Waziristan. The Afghan interim government strongly reacted to these “air strikes,” warning against compromising security by using Afghan territory.