An Afghan Taliban delegation, comprising intelligence and security officials, quietly visited Islamabad recently to discuss a way forward towards addressing Pakistan’s concerns regarding the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), sources said on Monday.
Taliban in Pakistan:
Taliban ranks in Kabul also confirmed that a mid-level delegation led by Abdullah Ghaznavi, the head of the General Directorate of Intelligence (GDI), travelled to Pakistan for discussion on the TTP and threats to Pakistan.
The sources said the visit was a follow-up of last month’s trip to Kabul by a high-powered delegation led by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif.
The delegation received a briefing on the steps taken by the Afghan government to deal with the TTP.
The Pakistani delegation, however, deemed those steps unsatisfactory and sought concerted actions.
Pakistan also confronted the Afghan Taliban leadership with proofs about the whereabouts of the TTP leadership.
During its stay in Islamabad, the sources said, the Afghan delegation met with the relevant authorities to discuss the security situation and the fate of the TTP and its affiliates.
Taliban Visit Last Week:
A source in Kabul with the knowledge of matter told that the condition of anonymity that the delegation, comprising 10 members form the Taliban’s GDI, visited Islamabad last week.
The delegation was also assisted by GDI official Muhammad Wardak, the source said, adding that the delegation was mandated to deliver a massage from Kabul that the concerns of Pakistan would be addressed.
Both sides stayed mum on the visit. The sources in Islamabad said that given the sensitivity of the issue, both sides decided to discuss such matters away from the media glare.
The source in Kabul revealed that both sides made progress on various issues, but he was not authorised to make public statements.
The TTP has become a thorny issue between Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban. Pakistan expected the Afghan Taliban to address its concerns regarding the TTP after its return to power in August 2021. But contrary to the expectations, the TTP attacks only went up.
The Afghan Taliban’s reluctance to take on the TTP stemmed from its fears that the group’s fighters might join Da’esh. Second, the Afghan Taliban and the TTP share the same ideology as they fought alongside the US-led foreign forces.
Nevertheless, the two sides have been trying to find a way out of the TTP problem as it has threatened to undermine their future cooperation.
Published on Logical Baat, March 21, 2023.