The head of Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency on Tuesday quietly visited Kabul as part of efforts by the two estranged neighbours to reset their ties particularly in the field of intelligence cooperation.
This was the first visit by Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar as Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and came at a time when relations between Islamabad and Kabul are at their lowest.
The news of ISI chief’s likely visit to Kabul was first given by Speaker National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq, who led a high-level parliamentary delegation to Afghanistan over the weekend. On his return, the speaker told reporters that the ISI chief is expected to visit Kabul this week.
There was no official confirmation from either side about the visit, as well as his engagements in Kabul. Afghanistan’s Tolo news reported that the ISI chief was in Kabul to improve bilateral military and intelligence cooperation.
The ISI chief’s trip came on the heels of a high-level Pakistan Army delegation led by Chief of General Staff (CGS) Lt Gen Bilal Akbar visited Kabul.
Afghan authorities were conveyed that Pakistan Army had control in all areas on Pakistan side of the border and shall not allow its soil to be used against Afghanistan.
“Terrorists are common threat and shall be defeated,” the official statement quoted Gen Bilal as saying.
The flurry of visits by senior military and intelligence officials were part of efforts by the two sides to defuse their months old tensions primarily due to serious differences on fighting the militant groups. Both sides accused the other for hands-off approach to certain militant outfits.
Afghanistan has long held the view that Pakistan is still harboring Afghan Taliban on its soil, a charge strongly rebutted by Islamabad.
In fact, Pakistan has its own reservations by Afghan authorities to take on TTP and affiliates, which have been responsible for some of the deadly terrorist attacks.
In confessional video statement released by ISPR, Ehsanullah Ehsan, the former spokesperson of TTP, revealed that the outlawed terrorist group was being funded by Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) and India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
His statement, according to Pakistan, further vindicated its stance that Indian state agencies were involved in sponsoring terrorists attacks in the country.