Pakistan and Taliban Foreign Ministers discuss bilateral issues

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, discussed matters of mutual interest with the Taliban’s Foreign Minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, over a telephone conversation on Saturday.

Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that that two sides “discussed a range of issues of mutual interest” and “Pakistan’s commitment to a stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan.”

According to the Express Tribune, the phone call could be a prelude to Muttaqi’s visit to Islamabad.

“The sources said the acting foreign minister is expected to visit Islamabad as the two neighbors are struggling to find a common ground on how to deal with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its affiliates.” The Pakistani newspaper reports.

Islamabad and Kabul have reportedly been in contact to finalise the date of Muttaqi’s visit, likely to take place in the coming weeks.

“Pakistan had hoped that the Taliban takeover would improve border security and importantly the issue of terrorist sanctuaries would be sorted out. But contrary to expectations, the TTP sponsored attacks have only increased causing friction in bilateral ties. Efforts by the Afghan Taliban to mediate a peace deal between Pakistan and the TTP have failed.” The Express Tribune added.

This conversation comes after the meeting of Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries was held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on Thursday where Pakistan’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar, said that a constructive engagement with the Taliban is crucial and Pakistan does not have the luxury to disengage with Afghanistan.