ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir on Saturday demanded “full support” from the interim Taliban administration in Kabul to deal with the rising number of militant attacks in his country while holding a meeting with the acting foreign minister of Afghanistan, Amir Khan Muttaqi, at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.
The Afghan official arrived in Pakistan to attend a tripartite dialogue hosted by Islamabad in which a Chinese delegation also participated. The event focused on the ongoing situation in Afghanistan and deliberated on security challenges along with the prospects of greater economic prosperity through enhanced regional trade and connectivity.
The diplomatic gathering took place at a time when Pakistan has witnessed a surge in militant violence in areas along its 2,600-kilometer frontier with Afghanistan.
Officials in Islamabad have blamed a conglomerate of armed factions, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), for the recent attacks while pointing out that the network’s leadership is based in neighboring Afghanistan. They have also urged the authorities in Kabul not to let their soil be used by armed groups against other countries.
“COAS stressed the need for enhanced cooperation between the two brotherly neighbors to effectively tackle the common challenges of terrorism and extremism,” said a statement released by the army’s media wing, ISPR. “He reiterated the need for full support and commitment from the Afghan Interim Government in matters of mutual interest.”
The TTP emerged as an umbrella organization of militant factions in Pakistan about 15 years ago when it started targeting security forces and civilians.
It is a separate entity from the Afghan Taliban, though its top leaders pledged allegiance to the new rulers in Kabul after the departure of the international forces from Afghanistan.
The Taliban return to power in the neighboring country in August 2021 is said to have emboldened the TTP, which stepped up attacks across Pakistan.
According to the ISPR, Muttaqi appreciated Pakistan’s support to the people of his country and acknowledged the role played by Islamabad for its peace and development.
The Afghan official also expressed desire to work closely with Pakistan to promote regional stability and prosperity.
“Both sides agreed on the importance of maintaining regular contacts to strengthen bilateral ties and address issues of common concern,” the statement added.