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Khan’s visit to Kabul, promises or demands?

Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan is coming today (Thursday) to Kabul as head of his government’s delegation for the first time since he was elected to lead our neighboring country in July 2018. Khan’s visit takes place in response to a President Ghani’s invitation. The visit of top Pakistani official to Kabul comes amid hopes and fears in Afghanistan about the situation in the future. The people are keeping eyes to Ghani administration’s peace negotiations with the Taliban now underway for 68 days. The Taliban militants, who are believed to enjoying support from different states including Pakistan, look reluctant in the negotiations. Insisting on their February peace deal with the United States and the Hanafi (Sunni) religious jurisprudence as the bases of procedures for the talks as well as intensifying attacks on government troops and civilians in more than 20 provinces is two major indicators that the insurgent group is not serious and interested to seek a peaceful solution.

From other side, the United States as the main supporter of the Afghan government and defense forces is withdrawing a considerable number of its troops soon. The Afghan defense, security and economic institutions are largely relying on the international assistance especially the United States. The previous Pakistani leaders did not prove to be honest regarding Afghanistan as their all their promises from transit facilities to help for security in Afghanistan, Afghan migrants and visa issuance did not come true and all were vice versa. Khan is to pay visit to Kabul just a few days after his foreign minister and a senior army official made allegations regarding the use of Afghan soil by Islamabad’s rival (India) for destructive operations inside Pakistan. Khan had earlier vowed many times to cooperate with the government of Afghanistan and the United States to accelerate the peace process, and even personally spoke to Taliban leaders to apparently encourage them to agree the Kabul and world requested peace negotiations. From other side, this Khan’s first visit as Pakistan prime minister and does not have false promises to Afghans in his background yet. He is expected to be realistic about the situation in Afghanistan and honestly assure Afghans to help them by pressuring Taliban to stop violence. Khan is not expected to repeat Qureshi and General Iftikhar’s baseless allegations since such false accusations is interpreted as trying to make rifts in Kabul’s relations with one of its friendly countries. Afghans want friendly ties with Pakistan, but also want to have relations with other nations.

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