Acting foreign minister of Afghanistan, Amir Khan Muttaqi, on Wednesday arrived in Islamabad, his first visit to the country, as part of efforts by the two sides to reset their ties in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul.
Commerce advisor Abdul Razak Dawood, Pakistan’s special representative for Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq and senior officials received him at the Nur Khan Airbase.
The Taliban’s representative at the Afghan embassy in Islamabad, Shakaib Ahmad, was also present.
Muttaqi came with a 20-member high-level delegation comprising Minister for Finance Hidayatullah Badri, Minister for Industries and Trade Nooruddin Aziz and senior officials from the aviation ministry.
During his three-day visit, he would hold talks with counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi and other officials.
The visit is taking place as a follow-up to Foreign Minister Qureshi’s visit to Kabul on October 21.
“The exchanges will centre on Pakistan-Afghanistan relations with a particular focus on enhanced trade, facilitation of transit trade, cross-border movement, land and aviation links, people-to-people contacts and regional connectivity,” the FO statement said on Tuesday.
While Afghan foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi said that the Afghan officials will discuss bilateral ties with Pakistan and issues like the economy, transit, refugees and expanding facilities for the movement of people.
Since his visit coincides with the Troika Plus meeting involving the special representatives from China, Russia, US and Pakistan on Thursday, Muttaqi is also expected to meet the special representatives of these nations.
His meeting with the new US special Afghan representative, Thomas West, who recently replaced Zalmay Khalilzad, would be important to open a channel of direct communication with the Taliban, according to Pakistan officials.
Pakistan has been trying to convince the world to diplomatically engage with the Taliban after they seized control of Kabul on August 15.
However, the international community is still sceptical about the hardline Islamists, especially on issues like terrorism emanating from the war-torn country and their promises to respect human rights.
Afghanistan has been under Taliban rule since August 15 when the Afghan militant group ousted the elected government of President Ashraf Ghani and forced him to flee the country and take refuge in the UAE.
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