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Fazlur Rehman Prioritizes TTP Issue on Agenda for Upcoming Afghanistan Visit

On Saturday, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the chief of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Fazl (JUI-F), stated that discussions about the banned militant group Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are on the agenda for his upcoming visit to Afghanistan. The JUI-F leader received an invitation from the Afghan interim government last month, marking his first visit to Afghanistan since the Taliban took control in 2021.

TTP

Rehman, who last visited Afghanistan in 2013 and met then-president Hamid Karzai, mentioned that he has approval from the Taliban supreme leader to visit and intends to meet him in Kandahar. Sheikh Haibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban’s supreme leader, rarely engages with foreign delegates.

When asked about addressing the TTP issue during his visit, Rehman responded affirmatively, stating, “Yes, there is a possibility. We will use our relationship for goodwill.”

Regarding representation, he clarified that the visit was arranged by his party, but he had been in contact with the Foreign Office and relevant government officials, emphasizing consideration for the interests of both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Rehman revealed that the Foreign Office provided him with a briefing on January 3, outlining Pakistan’s stance and demands, indicating the government’s recognition of the visit’s importance. He expressed his intention to convey the government’s stance to Taliban leaders during his meetings.

When questioned about the potential impact of his visit on reducing tension between Pakistan and the Taliban government, Rehman suggested that it depends on the intentions of both countries. He emphasized Pakistan’s desire for positive outcomes, noting the importance the Afghan side has attached to the visit.

Addressing the issue of girls’ education with the Taliban leaders, Rehman argued that there is no issue in Islamic law, but each country has the right to adopt policies on internal affairs, peace, security, trade, economy, and social reforms. He urged the world to allow the Islamic Emirate to establish its system without external interference.

The visit comes at a time of strained relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan due to increased terrorist attacks, primarily claimed by the TTP. While the Afghan Taliban deny allowing Afghan soil for attacks against Pakistan, the Pakistani authorities remain skeptical and demand action against the TTP.

A recent report by the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies highlighted that a significant majority of terrorism-related deaths in 2023 were attributed to major groups, including the TTP and its affiliates.

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