Afghan interior minister, intelligence chief visit Islamabad to share info on Kabul hotel attack.
Islamabad: Afghanistan on Wednesday shared evidence with Pakistan on the recent terror attacks in Afghanistan amid reports that President Ashraf Ghani had refused a call from Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Omar Zakhilwal however, denied reports claiming that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani refused to take a condolence phone call on late Tuesday night from Prime Minister Abbasi.
“Not true — no phone call has taken place,” he said on Twitter. “Following recent horrific terrorists attacks in Kabul PM Abassi conveyed a message to President Ghani to which it was responded to by high powered personal delegation by the President to meet the PM today (Wednesday),” he added.
Media reports said that the Premier had telephoned Afghan President “in connection with the spate of recent attacks in Afghanistan.”
On Wednesday, President Ghani sent a delegation “to handover evidence related to recent attacks in Kabul” to be shared with Pakistan’s Army.
Foreign office spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said a high-level delegation representing Afghan government had arrived in Islamabad “to discussions cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan.”
The delegation, comprising Afghanistan interior minister Wais Ahmad Barmak and National Directorate of Security (NDS) chief Masoom Stanekzai, has come with a message from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, the FO added.
On Tuesday, Mr Faisal revealed that Pakistan had handed over more than two dozen suspects belonging to the Taliban and their affiliated Haqqani network to Afghanistan.
The unprecedented move appeared to be aimed at dispelling the oft-repeated allegations that Islamabad is supporting violent insurgency in Afghanistan.
The handover took place in November last year just weeks after the maiden visit of Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa to Kabul.
However, the extradition of 27 suspected members of the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network was kept confidential till now.
But just a day after Islamabad’s announcement, Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Omar Zakhilwal said he was ‘astonished’ that any of such event took place.
Dr Zakhilwal said it seemed that even he was not aware of the move. The Afghan ambassador tweeted if this indeed happened, it would be a huge step forward in Pakistan and Afghanistan mutual bilateral relations.
Afghanistan interior minister and intelligence chief’s visit comes at a time when tension between the neighbours is simmering over accusations that Pakistan offered a safe haven for Taliban militants.
It comes amid anger in Afghanistan over an attack on a luxury hotel and a car bomb in the capital, Kabul that killed more than 120 people, which the government has blamed on Haqqani network militants believed to operate out of Pakistan.
The Afghan team, officials said, provided “documentary evidence and phone tap information” linking individuals and groups based in Pakistan with the Kabul attacks.
Meanwhile, a high-level Pakistani government delegation would be visiting Afghanistan on February 3 to hold first meeting of Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Solidarity (APAPS), an official statement said.
Headed by Pakistan’s foreign secretary, the delegation would hold constructive and meaningful discussions with Afghanistan on all issues including Counter-Terrorism, Peace and Reconciliation and Repatriation of Refugees, the statement added.
It said Pakistan wanted to engage with Afghanistan at official and State to State level rather than conducting diplomacy through the media.