Pakistan hosts meeting of regional states’ spymasters

Published September 12, 2021
Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt Gen Faiz Hameed pictured during his visit to Kabul earlier this month. — Photo by Naveed Siddiqui/File
Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt Gen Faiz Hameed pictured during his visit to Kabul earlier this month. — Photo by Naveed Siddiqui/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Saturday hosted a meeting of spymasters of some countries in the region on the situation in Afghanis­tan, a security source said.

There was no official statement on the meeting, but an intelligence source privately confirmed that the session had taken place.

The meeting was attended by the intelligence heads from Russia, China, Iran and some Central Asian states.

“The hosting of the meeting by Pakistan reflects our sincerity for peace in the region and Afghanis­tan,” the source said.

Matters concerning security along border with Afghanistan come under discussion

It was the latest effort by Pakistan, which had over the past few days hosted meetings of the foreign ministers of the six neighbouring countries of Afghanistan and that of their special envoys, to develop a common regional strategy on dealing with challenges emanating from the events unfolding in the war-ravaged country since the fall of Ghani regime.

Foreign ministers of Afghan­is­tan’s neighbouring countries earlier in a meeting on Wed­nes­day “agr­eed to remain seized of the developments in Afghanistan and coordinate with each other for a hol­i­stic, comprehensive and harmoni­zed response,” according to a joint statement issued after their meeting.

The regional countries are worried about security situation along their borders with Afghanistan, terrorists using Afghan soil for launching attacks on other countries, spread of extremism, possibility of influx of refugees, drug trafficking and transnational crimes.

In an Op-Ed published by the Gazeta.Ru news website on Saturday, Russian Security Council’s deputy chairman Dmitry Medvedev warned that tens of thousands of members of the militant Islamic State (IS) group were based in Afghanistan’s provinces close to borders with Central Asian countries, according to TASS news wire.

“According to the intelligence services, now the region numbers tens of thousands of the IS militants and their followers, with the significant part of them concentrated in the northern and eastern provinces bordering the Central Asian countries. The leadership of the Islamic State openly announced plans to spread its influence to the entire region,” Medvedev said.

Also on Wednesday, CIA chief William Burns during his visit to Pakistan met Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Bajwa and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt Gen Faiz Hamid. Burns had come here to share US concerns about the new situation and see how Pakistan can be helpful in dealing with them.

Earlier on Sept 4, the ISI DG had travelled to Afghanistan where he reportedly held meetings with the new Taliban regime. A source said he had in his meetings in Kabul, besides, other issues had emphasised on the urgent need for dealing with the terrorist threat from groups including ISIS, Al-Qaeda, ETIM, TTP, BLA, and Jundullah to the neighbouring countries.

Islamabad had while welcoming the formation of caretaker government in Afghanistan by the Taliban hoped that “the new political dispensation will ensure coordinated efforts for peace, security and stability in Afghanistan”.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2021

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