It was decided during a high-level meeting in Islamabad on Thursday that National Security Adviser (NSA) Moeed Yusuf would visit Afghanistan amid tensions along the Pak-Afghan border.
A meeting of the Afghanistan Inter-Ministerial Coordination Cell (AICC), presided by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, took the decision, according to an official statement.
“A senior delegation of Pakistani officials, headed by the NSA, is scheduled to visit Afghanistan soon for further engagement with the Afghan government on all assistance-related prospects,” the statement said.
No date for the NSA's visit was announced during the meeting. However, an official told Dawn.com that the visit would probably take place from January 17-18. “We will finalise the delegation in a couple of days and then decide the date,” the official said.
Earlier, another official told Dawn.com that Pakistan had proposed to the Afghan government that a delegation from either side should pay a visit to explore ways to resolve the issues that emerged after instances of Taliban removing fencing along the Pak-Afghan border.
Over the past few weeks, videos have surfaced on social media purportedly showing Taliban fighters uprooting a portion of the fence along the Pak-Afghan border, claiming that the fencing had been erected inside Afghan territory.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi have called for engagement of both sides to discuss the border issue.
However, a day earlier, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar stated that fencing of the Pak-Afghan border would continue as planned, adding that blood of martyred soldiers had been spilled while erecting the fence.
Addressing a press conference, the DG ISPR said that the Pak-Afghan border fencing was 94 per cent complete, adding: "We are totally focused, and under the western border management regime, the work that is underway will be completed in some time."
NSA gives detailed presentation on aid to Afghanistan
Meanwhile, during the AICC, the NSA gave a detailed presentation about the cell and the progress made so far on various initiatives undertaken by the forum to facilitate the process of humanitarian assistance for the people of Afghanistan, the statement said.
The NA speaker was told that the Rs5 billion assistance package announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan included immediate supply of food commodities, life-saving drugs, winter supplies and shelter.
“Special dispensation is now in place for any international non-government organisations willing to support Afghanistan’s humanitarian assistance efforts from Pakistan. Similarly, facilitation was offered to stranded patients for their return to Afghanistan," the statement said.
The statement further said it was informed that a proposal for granting long-term residency to foreign investors was being formalised for final approval by the prime minister.
Similarly, modalities were being worked out for commencement of a bus service between Peshawar-Jalalabad and Quetta-Kandahar.
Qaiser appreciated the AICC for the well-coordinated efforts to help the neighbouring country in dealing with the crisis.
He stressed that the world must not abandon the people of Afghanistan in their time of need. He said that peace and stability in Afghanistan offered enormous opportunities not only to the Afghan people but also to Pakistan in terms of access to Central Asian countries for greater trade and connectivity, the statement said.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Establishment Shahzad Arbab and Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq also attended the meeting.