ISI chief rushes to Kabul as Taliban struggle to form inclusive govt acceptable to int’l community

Islamabad, Sep 04 (PTI): In a surprise move, Pakistan’s powerful intelligence chief Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed on Saturday dashed to Kabul, according to media reports here, amidst the Taliban struggling to finalise and install an inclusive government in Afghanistan that would be acceptable to the international community.
A delegation of senior Pakistani officials led by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lieutenant General Hameed arrived in Kabul to conduct 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 visit of Hameed, it 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 has been postponing the announcement.
The Taliban have postponed the formation of a new government in Afghanistan for next week, their spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said on Saturday, as the insurgent 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.
Hameed’s visit to Kabul came as Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa met with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab earlier in the day and said that Pakistan will assist in the formation of an inclusive administration in Afghanistan.
Raab arrived in Islamabad on Thursday night to meet top Pakistani leadership and discuss the Afghanistan situation.

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