Khar, Afghan Taliban discuss bilateral issues in Kabul

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Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar concluded a one-day trip to Kabul on Tuesday where she held wide-ranging talks with Afghan Taliban leadership on security issues and economic cooperation.

Khar, who was leading a high-level delegation, was the first minister to travel to the Afghan capital since the government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took over in April.

The Foreign Office (FO) said in a statement that Khar met acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi shortly after landing in Kabul. Pakistan’s special representative for Afghanistan Moham mad Sadiq was also part of the delegation.

Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed to introduce new mechanisms for bilateral relations to review all common opportunities and problems through dialogue and to make progress, Afghan officials said.

“Both sides have also agreed to take positive and productive steps for a solution to the problems,” Afghan deputy foreign affairs spokesperson Hafiz Zia Takal said in a statement posted through his Twitter account.

Takal added that FM Muttaqi described relations between the two neighbouring countries as important for the people and the region.

Muttaqi, as per the spokesperson, raised the issues of the release of Afghan detainees in Pakistan, facilities for passengers in cross-border movement, and progress in trade and transit. “The Afghan side also showed readiness to make progress on the TAPI gas pipeline, railway lines, and other projects.”

He also explained the stance of the Afghan Taliban on “political relations, economic development, and security”.

The spokesperson said the Pakistani side promised “good treatment” for Afghan refugees, solutions to the problems in cross-border movement, and issuance of visas. “Pakistani side also said they will take steps to further facilitate transit.”

The Afghan statement quoted Khar as saying that Pakistan and Afghanistan are Muslim neighbours and have cultural similarities, and both governments should cooperate with each other to secure bilateral interests.

Khar later met Acting Deputy Prime Minister for Administrative Affairs of Afghanistan Abdul Salam Hanafi to discuss bilateral trade, connectivity & people-to-people contacts.

The state minister also met the Women’s Chamber of Commerce where she underlined the important role of women in society, expressed Pakistan’s keen interest in strengthening linkages between women entrepreneurs from both countries and announced that Pakistan would give preference to the import of products by women-run businesses.

The state minister met the Taliban leaders amid mistrust over certain issues, including firing exchanges along the border and a spike in Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) attacks. Pakistan says TTP operates from Afghan soil — something that the Afghan Taliban deny. mad Sadiq was also part of the delegation.

Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed to introduce new mechanisms for bilateral relations to review all common opportunities and problems through dialogue and to make progress, Afghan officials said.

“Both sides have also agreed to take positive and productive steps for a solution to the problems,” Afghan deputy foreign affairs spokesperson Hafiz Zia Takal said in a statement posted through his Twitter account.

Takal added that FM Muttaqi described relations between the two neighbouring countries as important for the people and the region.

Muttaqi, as per the spokesperson, raised the issues of the release of Afghan detainees in Pakistan, facilities for passengers in cross-border movement, and progress in trade and transit. “The Afghan side also showed readiness to make progress on the TAPI gas pipeline, railway lines, and other projects.”

He also explained the stance of the Afghan Taliban on “political relations, economic development, and security”.

The spokesperson said the Pakistani side promised “good treatment” for Afghan refugees, solutions to the problems in cross-border movement, and issuance of visas. “Pakistani side also said they will take steps to further facilitate transit.”

The Afghan statement quoted Khar as saying that Pakistan and Afghanistan are Muslim neighbours and have cultural similarities, and both governments should cooperate with each other to secure bilateral interests.

Khar later met Acting Deputy Prime Minister for Administrative Affairs of Afghanistan Abdul Salam Hanafi to discuss bilateral trade, connectivity & people-to-people contacts.

The state minister also met the Women’s Chamber of Commerce where she underlined the important role of women in society, expressed Pakistan’s keen interest in strengthening linkages between women entrepreneurs from both countries and announced that Pakistan would give preference to the import of products by women-run businesses.

The state minister met the Taliban leaders amid mistrust over certain issues, including firing exchanges along the border and a spike in Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) attacks. Pakistan says TTP operates from Afghan soil — something that the Afghan Taliban deny.