Islamabad, 3 January, 2023 (GNP): In a significant diplomatic engagement, interim Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani held talks with senior Afghan Taliban official Mullah Shirin Akhund on Wednesday, reaffirming Pakistan’s commitment to continued engagement and mutually beneficial ties with Afghanistan.
During the meeting, foreign minister Jilani expressed the need for comprehensive resolution of issues to enhance trade potential and connectivity between the two nations.
Acknowledging the imperatives of addressing critical matters, both officials exchanged views on pivotal subjects of mutual concern, including peace, security, and promoting people-to-people contacts.
I had a productive meeting with Mullah Shirin, Governor of Kandahar today.
Reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to continued engagement &
mutually beneficial ties with Afghanistan. Also stressed imperatives of addressing all issues to harness full potential for trade & connectivity. pic.twitter.com/Q2abDfFUij
— Jalil Abbas Jilani (@JalilJilani) January 3, 2024
The Foreign Office (FO) highlighted the discussions, underscoring the Afghan Taliban official’s appreciation for Pakistan’s longstanding support extended to millions of Afghans over four decades. Both parties agreed to sustain high-level engagement and dialogue to strengthen bilateral relations further.
The meeting follows the 6th session of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Coordination Committee (JCC), where the participants discussed coordination mechanisms to facilitate cross-border movement, emphasizing the promotion of people-to-people contacts.
The Afghan embassy had earlier announced the sixth JCC meeting, emphasizing discussions and essential decisions aimed at resolving potential conflicts along the Durand Line and establishing facilities benefiting both sides.
Mullah Shirin Akhund, a key figure in the Afghan Taliban, holds strategic roles within the group’s military and political spheres.
The 6th round of Afg-Pak JCC’s meeting is scheduled take place today in ISB. These meetings regularly happen in KBL & ISB in which Al-Haj Mullah Mohammad Shirin Akhund, Deputy of Strategic Intelligence of Defense Ministry & Acting Governor of Kandahar is leading the Afg side.
— Embassy of Afghanistan in Islamabad (@AfghanembassyI1) January 3, 2024
His involvement in significant Taliban activities and close ties to the senior leadership underscore his influence within Afghanistan’s leadership structure.
Today’s meeting between foreign minister Jilani and Mullah Shirin Akhund arrives amidst strained relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan due to an increase in terrorist attacks, mostly claimed by the outlawed militant Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) group.
Islamabad has reiterated concerns about terrorist elements using Afghan soil against Pakistan, demanding action against the TTP and its sanctuaries.
A recent report by the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies highlighted that a significant proportion of terrorism-related deaths in 2023 were attributed to major groups, including the TTP and its subsidiaries, accounting for the majority of terrorist attacks in the country.