ISI Chief Meet Taliban Official in Kabul

September 05, 2021

Lt-Gen Faiz Hameed, the head of Pakistan’s premier spy agency visited Kabul on Saturday, the first visit by a senior Pakistani official since the Afghan capital fell to the Taliban and the US-led foreign troops left the war-torn country in a mess. The director general of ISI visits are generally kept a secret, but that was not the case with his visit to Kabul. Photos shared on social media showed Gen Faiz having tea at Kabul’s Serena Hotel, alongside Pakistan’s Ambassador Mansoor Ali Khan.

In reply to a foreign journalist’s question, the DG ISI stated that the objective of his visit was to pursue “security and harmony” in Afghanistan. He went on to say that he had been here only to meet with the Pakistani ambassador and get a personal experiences view of the incident on the ground. It is believed that the DG ISI met with top Afghan leadership to describe the current situation. He is also said to have met with foreign delegations in Kabul.

However no official information was provided, one of the goal of his visit was to explain the provisions and mechanisms for the safe passage of foreign nationals who are still abandoned in Afghanistan. Foreign ministers from Germany, the UK, and the Netherlands have recently visited Pakistan, and the Italian foreign minister is scheduled to visit next week. The plethora of visits was intended to enlist Pakistan’s assistance in safeguarding the exit of foreign nationals.

Despite the fact that Western countries expelled thousands of their nationals and Afghans who worked for them in a tremendous evacuation operation in the second quarter of last month, there are still foreign citizens who remain. The DG ISI was only the second foreign intelligence service chief to visit Kabul since the Taliban took control of the Afghan capital on August 15. Previously, the CIA director attended Kabul, but the visit was kept private.

The visit of Gen Faiz also demonstrates that Pakistan is ready to accept Afghanistan’s “new possibilities,” and despite reservations from the West, Islamabad is willing to deal with the current government. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi called the Afghan Taliban a “new reality” at a news briefing with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, saying Pakistan had no choice but to cooperate with the bordering country.

Pakistan is eager to help the new administration reorganize the army and security services. Islamabad made similar offers and expressed willingness to authorize a security pact as well as a bilateral agreement between the two countries’ intelligence services, but all of these efforts failed to achieve the desired outcome due to the trust deficit between the two neighbors. With the Afghan Taliban poised to form a coalition government, Pakistan would revive its offer and hope for a positive reaction from the other side.

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