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Senior Taliban leader to visit Pakistan for talks on TTP

AT News

KABUL – In a significant diplomatic move, Mullah Sherin Akhund, a senior leader of the Afghan Taliban, is scheduled to visit Islamabad early next month to address the escalating challenges posed by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). This visit takes center stage as it signifies a pivotal shift in negotiations between the Taliban and the Pakistani government, aiming to counter the growing threat of TTP terrorists operating within Pakistan.

Mullah Sherin Akhund, known for his influential roles in the Taliban’s military and political domains, is poised to engage in discussions with Pakistani intelligence and foreign office officials. The visit follows the Afghan Taliban’s expressed interest in easing tensions with the Pakistani government, particularly regarding the actions of the TTP, which have triggered a fresh wave of terrorism in the country.

The Taliban’s gesture to facilitate dialogue is underscored by their previous invitation to Maulana Fazlur Rehman of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazal) (JUI-F). Pakistan’s foreign office, however, downplayed the significance of the visit, labeling it as an invitation intended for a private individual, as reported by Dawn news agency.

Mullah Sherin’s pivotal role in the Taliban leadership hierarchy, especially his involvement in major Taliban activities and serving as a liaison between the Pakistan Army and the TTP, positions him as a key figure in the ongoing diplomatic efforts. The strained relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, fueled by terrorism and recent efforts to repatriate undocumented Afghan migrants, further emphasize the urgency of these discussions.

Amid accusations and blame games, the lack of high-level communication between Islamabad and Kabul, highlighted by Taliban-appointed foreign minister Mullah Muttaqi, adds complexity to the geopolitical landscape. Pakistan, optimistic about the Taliban’s return to power in 2021, had hoped for effective collaboration in managing the TTP. However, the Taliban’s reluctance to take decisive action against the TTP and other terror groups operating from Afghan soil has strained relations.

Despite Pakistan’s persistent calls for action, the Taliban administration remains unmoved, citing allegiances and ideological ties. Speculations arise that the Afghan Taliban may have imposed restrictions on the TTP from launching direct attacks on Pakistan, adding another layer to the intricate dynamics of this geopolitical chessboard. The visit of Mullah Sherin Akhund marks a critical juncture in the ongoing efforts to address these complex issues and forge a path towards regional stability.

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