Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Meets with Taliban Embassy Head in Islamabad
Pakistan’s Asif Durrani, the special representative for Afghanistan affairs, held a meeting with Sardar Ahmad Shakib, the head of the Taliban embassy in Islamabad, on Friday, May 26th. This meeting follows allegations of strained relations between the two countries, and Shakib expressed hope that bilateral relations would expand and existing problems would be solved with Durrani’s presence. According to a tweet by the Taliban embassy in Islamabad, Durrani also pledged to develop stronger bilateral relations in coordination with the Afghan Embassy and other related institutions.
Durrani is a Veteran Diplomat Who Worked in the Region
Durrani did not make a statement following the meeting, but he is a veteran Pakistani diplomat with extensive experience in the region. Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif appointed Durrani his special representative for Afghanistan affairs on Tuesday, June 2nd. Durrani’s previous posts include working as a diplomat in Afghanistan, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates, and he speaks Persian and Pashto, the two most commonly spoken languages in Afghanistan.
Durrani Replaces Resigned Pakistani Representative
Durrani succeeded Mohammad Sadiq, the former special representative of Pakistan for Afghanistan affairs. Sadiq served in this position for three years before resigning in August last year. The Pakistani government has been looking to re-establish good relations with Afghanistan to address issues of trade, terrorism, and other concerns. Meanwhile, Afghanistan has been seeking greater regional connectivity through economic development projects.
The meeting between Durrani and Shakib offers a glimmer of hope for bilateral relations between the two countries, which have been marked by tension and distrust at times. The international community will no doubt be monitoring developments closely.