News - Afghanistan
A high-ranking Afghan government delegation left for Islamabad on Thursday with the intention of demanding the government of Pakistan put greater pressure on Taliban militants based within its borders, according to the Afghan government's peace envoy, Haji Din Mohammad.
The Afghan representatives are expected to admonish Pakistani leaders with warnings of potential consequences - backed by the international community - if they prove uncooperative.
The tone of the delegation's mission appears decidedly more confrontational than past trips of National Unity Government officials across the border. Reportedly, the representatives - including the NDS Chief Rahmatullah Nabil, Minister of foreign affairs Salahuddin Rabbani and Acting Defense Minister Masoom Stanekzai - will travel with hard evidence gathered by Afghan authorities exposing the depth of the Pakistani military's collusion with the Taliban insurgency.
"The delegation travels with a serious agenda and their seriousness will cause Pakistan to put more pressure on the Taliban and convince them that they are being watched by Afghanistan and the international community [...]," Din Mohammad said.
Sources close to the matter have reported that the delegation will carry three specific messages to Islamabad: first, they will demand that Pakistani authorities target the Taliban leadership in Pakistan, second, they will demand they cut off financial support for terrorist groups based in Pakistan but operating inside Afghanistan, and third, they will demand Pakistan detain Taliban officials who are living within their borders.
The delegation's trip comes after a tumultuous week in relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Since the peace process initially brokered by Pakistan fell apart in the wake of the death of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, a wave of Taliban suicide bombings in Kabul has left over 70 dead and hundreds, mostly civilians, wounded. On Monday, President Ashraf Ghani held a press conference in which he pointed the finger of blame at Pakistan, saying that Islamabad continued to aid and abet the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. The remarks were a stark departure from the conciliatory stance he had taken toward Pakistan since entering office.
"No doubt the message of the government should be very different and the dialogue should be entered from a position of power and must solve Pakistan's proxy war in Afghanistan through the United Nations," MP Fawzia Kofi said.
Whereas previously many were skeptical of the faith Ghani put in Pakistan's willingness to cooperate honestly, now, with his new admonishments, across the political spectrum, Afghan leaders seem united in their outlook on Islamabad and what must be done to disrupt the status quo.
"All should defend national interest with one voice and this will allow the delegation to return with achievements and the international community will understand that now Afghans stand united," Din Mohammad told TOLOnews.
On Wednesday, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) reiterated Ghani's claims, claiming they possessed evidence linking the Pakistani military to the recent spate of bombings in Kabul.
"They [Pakistan] should be restricted from supporting and training armed government opposition groups in Quetta and other parts in order to earn the trust of the Afghan people and the international community," Afghan High Peace Council member Qazi Mohammad Amin Waqad said on Thursday.