Afghan Taliban, Pakistan Discuss Anti-Terror Cooperation

Afghanistan’s Taliban said Monday they had discussed bilateral security cooperation with Pakistan, including measures needed at border crossings between the two countries to stem the movement of terrorists into Pakistan.Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told reporters in Kabul that a delegation from Islamabad visited the country over the weekend for the discussions. The Pakistani team was led by General Faiz Hameed, the head of the country’s spy agency, known as the Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI. Mujahid said the visitors conveyed their concerns over multiple jail breaks during the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan and the release of hundreds of prisoners involved in militant attacks in Pakistan. He said the Taliban had assured the delegation that no one will be allowed to use Afghan soil against Pakistan.“It was also discussed that there shall be a check or scrutiny system at the (border) gates to detect individuals who want to harm Pakistan, as per their information, and we don’t know about them because we are dealing with this new situation where doors of prisons had already been opened,” he said.Mujahid said his side had stressed the need for not using this issue to close border gates to Afghan travelers, including patients, refugee families and daily wage workers who move across the border in search of work.Official sources in Islamabad told VOA the ISI chief went to Kabul to discuss with Taliban representatives matters related to border management and “overall security issue(s) to ensure that spoilers and terrorist organizations do not take advantage of the situation.” The sources spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to publicly interact with media.”Will you be meeting senior people in the Taliban?”@lindseyhilsum asks Pakistan’s intelligence chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, about their hopes for Afghanistan as he arrives in Kabul.
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) People arriving from Afghanistan gather after they cross into Pakistan at the Friendship Gate crossing point, in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border town of Chaman, Pakistan, Sept. 6, 2021.“For Pakistan, getting the Taliban to curb the TTP amounts to an ambitious task. The TTP has long been allied with the Taliban, and it has partnered operationally with the Taliban. The Taliban isn’t known for denying space to its militant allies, and I don’t see the TTP being an exception to the rule,” said Michael Kugelman, deputy Asia director at Washington’s Wilson Center. Analysts note an increase in deadly TTP-orchestrated attacks in Pakistan. The latest one occurred Sunday, when a suicide bomber in the city of Quetta killed four Pakistani troops and wounded at least 18 others.“It was widely assumed that as the Afghan Taliban are close to Pakistan for several reasons, the TTP threat to Pakistan will automatically decline/end with its takeover of Afghanistan. However, the August TTP attacks list shows its opposite. TTP has claimed the highest number of attacks in August than in a single month of the last four to five years,” observed Abdul Sayed, a regional security expert.Sayed, who is based in Sweden, noted that around 800 TTP members secured their freedom from Afghan jails with the arrival of the Taliban in Kabul.Pakistani officials, however, remain upbeat that landlocked Afghanistan requires a free flow of trade and transit trade facilities through Pakistan to overcome its humanitarian and critical economic challenges.That leverage, the officials say, and counterterrorism commitments the Taliban have given to the United States and neighboring countries would be used to press the new Afghan rulers to deliver on their pledges.Just before the Taliban took over Kabul, their chief, Hibatullah Akhundzada, had set up a three-member high-powered commission to persuade TTP members to stop violence against Pakistan and return to their homes across the border to live peacefully, VOA had learned from highly placed official sources in Islamabad.Afghan Taliban Commission Looking Into Pakistan’s Terror-Related ConcernsTaliban chief Hibatullah Akhundzada set up the tripartite panel recently to look into Islamabad’s complaints that the banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is using Afghan soil to plot cross-border terrorist attacksAnalysts say the Taliban are under international scrutiny and must live up to their counterterrorism commitments if they want their country to remain part of the regional community or the world at large and earn global recognition for their rule.On Monday, Taliban spokesman Mujahid said that they would like to join a multibillion-dollar bilateral project China has initiated in Pakistan.“The CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) project is important for entire Asia, including Afghanistan. If the CPEC route goes through Afghanistan, we would cooperate,” he said.China has spent more than $25 billion in Pakistan over the past six years under the bilateral collaboration, building road networks, power plants and a deep-water port on the Arabian Sea and developing agriculture as well as social sectors.Both Islamabad and Beijing say they are set to bring roads and other CPEC-related infrastructure into Afghanistan to help in the reconstruction of the war-shattered nation.Beijing has in recent years developed close contacts with the Taliban and expects the Islamist movement to fight the banned East Turkestan Islamic Movement, which is blamed for conducting terrorist attacks in China. 

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