With Pakistan Delegation in Kabul, Islamabad Urges Taliban To Deal With TTP Threat; Reopen Torkham Border

Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif meets Taliban’s Acting First Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Abdul Ghani Baradar on Wednesday.

Guess what? A high-ranking Pakistani delegation was in Kabul on Wednesday and discussed wide-ranging bilateral issues between Islamabad and Afghanistan, including the prospect of reopening the Torkham border on Thursday, the Taliban-led Afghan Embassy in Pakistan said.


Go deeper:

  • The embassy issued a tweet Wednesday night stating that the Torkham crossing will reopen to passengers, transit and trade on February 23, which had been shut since Sunday night causing thousands of trucks, supplies and passengers to be stranded on both sides of the border.
  • Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif and the ISI Chief Nadim Anjum arrived in Kabul on Wednesday at the head of a high-level delegation and met with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Deputy Prime Minister of the Taliban; Mohammad Yaqoob, acting defense minister, and Sirajuddin Haqqani, acting Interior Minister of the Taliban.
  • Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said it was discussing issues related to the growing threat of terrorism in the region, particularly by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the IS-K branch.
  • The two sides have agreed to cooperate to effectively counter the threat of terrorism posed by various institutions and organizations, the statement said.
  • According to a statement from the Pakistan Foreign Office, two sides agreed to take action to effectively deal with the threat of terrorism. It added that Kabul was receptive to Islamabad’s concerns and the Taliban-led government also assured of certain actions against militants including TTP.
  • Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid also issued a statement saying the two sides discussed security, economic, transit and trade issues.


Back story: The Taliban and Pakistani border forces had engaged in a gunfight on Monday morning following the closure of the Torkham border crossing in eastern Nangahar province on Sunday.

  • Islamabad confirmed that a Pakistani border force has been injured in the clashes.
  • On the issue of the closure of the crossing, Taliban officials said that Pakistan has not fulfilled its commitments regarding the smooth transit of Afghan travellers, and patients seeking treatment in the country.


Zoom out: What’s important to note is that while the Pakistan statement focussed more on the terror emerging from the region, the Taliban statement led with economic issues. It can be because Pakistan has seen a wave of bloody attacks in the past few weeks. The TTP has claimed responsibility for many of the attacks.

  • Pakistan has repeatedly accused the Afghan Taliban of creating safe havens for the Pakistani Taliban. Pakistan says attacks have increased there after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. The visit took place days after the TTP gunmen raided the police headquarters in Karachi in which four people including three security personnel lost their lives. Earlier a suicide bomb explosion in Peshawar mosque on Jan 30 claimed nearly 100 lives. The TTP was blamed for the mosque attack as well. However, Taliban has denied all these allegations.
  • However, Mullah Baradar said that political and security concerns should not affect business or economic matters. He further added that the Taliban called on Pakistan to release Afghans being detained in detention facilities in Pakistan.
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