Pakistan on Tuesday established first formal and public contact with the interim Afghan government when its envoy in Kabul met Taliban-nominated acting foreign minister, Maulvi Amir Khan Mutaqi.
This was the first meeting between a Pakistani official and the representative of the interim Afghan government announced last week, 23 days after the fall of Kabul, although both sides have been in regular contacts even before the announcement of interim setup.
“Called on the new Afghan Foreign Minister H.E Amir Khan Mutaqi and discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation particularly facilitating humanitarian, economic and people to people exchanges,” Mansoor Ahmed Khan, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Kabul said in a tweet after the meeting.
He was the first foreign envoy to meet the Afghan foreign minister, suggesting Pakistan’s policy of staying engaged with the new dispensation in Kabul.
Observers also see the development as de facto recognition of the Taliban government by Pakistan.
The meeting, according to the Taliban spokesperson, took place at the ministry of foreign affairs of Afghanistan.
Sohail Shahin, Taliban spokesperson, said the two discussed “smooth movement of people at Torkham and Spin Boldak border and problems of Afghan refugees in Pakistan.”
Zabiullah Mujahid also tweeted the development.
۱/۲ ـ نن غرمه د اسلامي امارت دبهرنیو چارو سرپرست وزیر محترم مولوي امیر خان متقي د خپل کار په دفتر کې د پاکستان له سفیر منصور احمد خان سره ولیدل.
په لیدنه کې د سپین بولدک او چمن ترمنځ د هیواد والو دتګ راتګ په اړه مفصلې خبرې وشوې او د پاکستان سفیر دسهولت رامنځ ته کولو ژمنه وکړه. pic.twitter.com/z1jVKIr2NL
— Zabihullah (..ذبـــــیح الله م ) (@Zabehulah_M33) September 14, 2021
Pakistan as a matter of policy is not accepting any new refugees from Afghanistan and only permitting people who need medical treatment, foreigners and evacuees who have valid travel documents through its land routes with Afghanistan.
The Torkham, which is the main border crossing, was closed for pedestrian movement by the Afghan Taliban on Monday. However, the border was reopened on Tuesday, confirmed the Pakistani officials.
The Taliban spokesperson said the Pakistan Ambassador promised to facilitate movement of people at Torkham and Spin Boldak and resolve problems faced by the Afghan refugees there.
The Afghan foreign minister and the Pakistani envoy also discussed the bilateral relationship and the humanitarian aid, as per the Taliban spokesperson.
Pakistan was amongst the first countries which dispatched humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, whose economy is on the verge of collapse.
The UN Secretary General at the Geneva conference on Monday warned that the essential food supplies could dry up by the end of this month. He also said the humanitarian situation was so dire in Afghanistan that every third Afghan did not know where they would get the next meal from.
The international community on Monday pledged $1.2 billion assistance, a move welcomed by the Afghan Taliban government. The acting foreign minister in his maiden press conference, however, added that the assistance should be distributed through the government.
Pakistan is at the forefront seeking humanitarian and political assistance for Afghanistan as it fears that economic collapse and humanitarian crises would lead to mass exudes of refugees.