In a recent diplomatic move, the Acting Prime Minister of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund, urged Pakistani authorities to reconsider their approach towards Afghan refugees. The plea was made during discussions with a delegation led by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman at the Presidential Palace in Kabul.
Addressing “Cruel Attitude” Towards Afghan Refugees
Akhund expressed concerns about what he referred to as Pakistan’s “cruel attitude” towards Afghan refugees. He emphasized that such actions only contribute to frustration and opposition, without effectively resolving the underlying issues. The acting prime minister clarified that the ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’ harbors no intentions of causing harm to Pakistan or any other nation.
Commitment to Regional Stability
Highlighting the commitment to regional stability, Akhund asserted that Afghanistan is determined to prevent the use of its soil against any country. The meeting, attended by influential figures like Chief Justice Maulavi Abdul Hakeem Haqqani and acting Foreign Minister Maulavi Ameer Khan Muttaqi, aimed to foster positive relations between the two neighboring nations.
Initiating Dialogue for Amicable Ties
Mullah Akhund welcomed the nine-member delegation led by Maulana Fazl to Kabul, with the visit initiated at the invitation of the Afghan Taliban. The primary objective was to address the strained relationship between the nations and to re-establish amicable ties.
Dispelling Misunderstandings and Enhancing Cooperation
Amidst accusations of providing refuge to the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Afghan Taliban denies the claim, urging Pakistan to address its internal security challenges. Maulana Fazl, leading the delegation, expressed the purpose of his visit as dispelling misunderstandings and exploring avenues to enhance cooperation in political, economic, and trade spheres.
Root Causes of Strained Relations
Pakistan has accused the Afghan Taliban of sheltering TTP, attributing increased TTP attacks to the Taliban’s ascent to power in August 2021. The recent deportation of nearly half a million undocumented Afghans by the Pakistan government further strained relations, with Kabul accusing Islamabad of using the refugee issue as a coercive tool.
Seeking Common Ground
Maulana Fazl condemned the mistreatment of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, identifying it as the root cause of ongoing issues. Government officials indicate that the JUI-F leader was briefed on Pakistan’s concerns regarding the TTP’s presence in Afghanistan, but the Taliban’s statement did not explicitly address this issue. Instead, the focus remained on their commitment to preventing the use of Afghan soil for any hostile activities.
Uncertainties and Diplomatic Discussions
It remains uncertain whether Maulana Fazl had discussions with leaders of banned militant outfits on the sidelines of his meetings with the Afghan Taliban leadership. The complexity of diplomatic discussions and the delicate nature of regional relations add layers of uncertainty to the outcomes.