Meeting between CIA Director, DG ISI and Army Chief

September 9, 2021

The director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), William Joseph Burns, met with Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director-General Lieutenant General Faiz Hamid on Thursday, according to a statement issued by the military’s media wing. This is the director of the CIA’s second trip to the region. It was previously reported that Burns met with Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Kabul, the highest-level meeting between the Taliban and the Biden administration since the Taliban’s return to power. Mutual interests, regional security, and the current situation in Afghanistan were all discussed.

During today’s high-level meeting, Pakistan restated its commitment to working with its international partners for regional peace in order to provide a “stable and prosperous future for the Afghan people.” According to the ISPR, the CIA chief praised Pakistan’s role in the Afghan matter, including successful evacuation operations and efforts for regional stability (ISPR). During the meeting, the US official also pledged to play a role in advancing diplomatic cooperation with Pakistan at all levels.

Earlier this month, Pakistan’s army chief stated that the country wished to maintain a long-term, multi-domain relationship with the US. General Bajwa made the statement after US Charge d’Affaires Angela Aggeler visited him at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi. In a statement seen by many observers as Islamabad’s attempt to gain international support for the Afghan Taliban’s caretaker government, Pakistan urged the world to discard “old lenses” and adopt a “realistic and rational” approach to Afghanistan.

FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s statement came a day after the Taliban revealed an interim government, which received criticism from Western countries for ignoring demands for an inclusive setup. Qureshi attended two important Afghanistan-related meetings. First, he hosted a virtual meeting of Iran’s, China’s, Uzbekistan’s, Turkmenistan’s, and Tajikistan’s foreign ministers. He later attended another meeting co-hosted by the US secretary of state and the German foreign minister. Qureshi’s message was clear in both meetings: the world needed to accept the new reality and move forward.

Pakistan’s efforts to gain support for Afghanistan’s new government emerge from its fears of an economic meltdown and humanitarian crisis if the world gives up the neighboring country. Speaking at a meeting hosted by the US and Germany, Qureshi even called for the unblocking of Afghanistan’s foreign reserves, which had been frozen by the US following the fall of Kabul.

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