'Everything will be Okay': ISI chief Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed during visit to Afghanistan
Pakistan's powerful intelligence chief Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed, who dashed to Kabul on an unannounced visit amidst efforts by the Taliban to finalise a government in Afghanistan, on Saturday expressed confidence that "everything will be okay" in the war-weary country.
A delegation of senior Pakistani officials led by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director-General Lieutenant General Hameed arrived in Kabul to conduct discussions with the incoming Taliban government, the Pakistan Observer newspaper reported.
In a short video clip circulated in the media, Hameed is seen trying to respond to questions by a journalist who first asked: “Will you be meeting senior people in the Taliban?”
“No, I’m not clear…” the ISI chief said and looked towards Pakistan ambassador to Kabul Mansour Ahmad Khan, who was standing by his side, to respond to the question.
But before Khan said anything, the journalist posed another question.
“What do you hope is going to happen now in Afghanistan?" he was asked.
“I have just landed…,” Hameed said and once again looked towards Khan who quipped: “We are working for peace and stability in Afghanistan.”
At this Hameed smiled and said: “Don’t worry, everything will be okay.”
Hameed's visit to Afghanistan comes as pressure is mounting on the Taliban to form an inclusive government acceptable to the international community. Earlier, Pakistan Observer newspaper reported that the ISI chief was expected to meet the Taliban leaders and commanders.
“Issues relating to Pak-Afghan security, economy, and other matters will be taken up with the Taliban leadership,” the report said, quoting sources.
It is the first high-level visit of any Pakistani official to Afghanistan since the Taliban took over of Kabul on August 15, in a move that surprised both their foes and friends.
Since then, the Taliban have been trying to form a government but so far have held back the announcement.
The Taliban have postponed the formation of a new government in Afghanistan for next week, their spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said on Saturday, as the insurgent group struggles to give shape to a broad-based and inclusive administration acceptable to the international community.
This is the second time that the Taliban have delayed the formation of the new government in Kabul since their toppling of the US-backed Afghanistan government. The insurgent group was expected to announce the formation of the new government led by its co-founder Mulla Abdul Ghani Baradar on Friday, but later postponed it by a day to Saturday.
According to the Express Tribune, Hameed will also meet Pakistan's envoy in Kabul to discuss the matter of repatriation and transit through Pakistan of foreign nationals and Afghans fleeing Taliban rule.
"The issue of pending requests from countries and international organisations for the repatriation/transit through Pakistan and the need to determine the mechanism through which Pakistan could allow these, in coordination with the ground authorities in Afghanistan will be discussed during the meeting with the Taliban officials,” it said, quoting sources.
The intelligence chief will spend a day in the Afghan capital, the Geo News reported. Border management is another important issue that will come under discussion during the visit of Hameed, it said.
Pakistan was often accused by the Afghanistan government of giving the Taliban military aid, a charge denied by Islamabad.
Hameed's visit to Kabul came as Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa met with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab earlier in the day and said that Pakistan will assist in the formation of an inclusive administration in Afghanistan.
Raab arrived in Islamabad on Thursday night to meet top Pakistani leadership and discuss the Afghanistan situation.
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