Afghan foreign minister Muttaqi expected to visit Islamabad this week

Published November 8, 2021
In this file photo, Afghanistan's acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi addresses a press conference in Kabul. — AP/File
In this file photo, Afghanistan's acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi addresses a press conference in Kabul. — AP/File

Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi is expected to visit Pakistan this week for talks on the relationship between the two countries, a Pakistani official said on Monday.

The official, who requested not to be identified, told Dawn.com that the Afghan foreign minister would pay a two-day visit on Nov 11-12.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who had visited Kabul last month, had invited Muttaqi to Islamabad. It will be the first visit to Pakistan by an Afghan minister since the Taliban took control of Kabul on Aug 15.

Pakistan has not recognised the Taliban government, however, Taliban officials have been allowed to take control of the Afghan embassy in Islamabad as well as consulates in Peshawar, Karachi and Quetta.

“It would be a substantive visit as Amir Khan Mutaqqi is a key member in the Taliban set-up,” the Pakistani official said.

Pakistan's ambassador to Afghanistan Mansoor Khan, who called on Muttaqi in Kabul on Sunday, tweeted that they had discussed measures for strengthening bilateral trade, transit, movement of people and humanitarian engagement.

Enhanced bilateral cooperation

Qureshi had held detailed discussions with Muttaqi during his visit to Kabul on Oct 21, which officials say laid the foundation of a multi-sectoral engagement between the two countries in the days to come which could usher in an era of enhanced bilateral economic cooperation and people-to-people ties.

Both sides agreed to revive existing bilateral mechanisms and institutional frameworks such as the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) to sort out differences and to remove hurdles in implementation of decisions on both sides.

APAPPS, a bilateral mechanism of dialogue, was operationalised in 2018 during the former government of Ashraf Ghani, focusing on "politico-diplomatic, military-to-military coordination, intelligence cooperation, and economy and refugee issues".

Under the APAPPS principles, the two countries have committed to undertake effective actions against fugitives and the irreconcilable elements posing security threats to either of the two countries.

Both countries had also agreed to commit to denying the use of their respective territory by any country, network, group or individuals for anti-state activities against either country.

During Qureshi’s visit, Pakistan had announced Rs5 billion for humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan in kind. In this regard, commodities will be prioritised by Afghan authorities.

Pakistan had assured the Afghan side that it would adopt a facilitative approach towards border movements as well as Afghan transit and trade. Pakistan had opened the Torkham border for pedestrians following the foreign minister's visit to Kabul.

Pakistan has also removed procedural restrictions on the movement of people between the two countries. These restrictions were imposed due to Covid-19 and recent political changes in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has also announced that its embassy in Kabul would issue five-year multiple-entry visas to Afghan businessmen.

It has also been decided to allow Afghan trucks to travel up to Karachi, in addition to waiving off duties on exports of Afghan fruits and vegetables to Pakistan.

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