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Pakistani JUI-F Leader Meets Afghan Taliban Chief for Historic Talks

JUI-F leader Fazlur Rehman has confirmed his meeting with the Afghan Taliban’s supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, during his recent visit to Afghanistan. This makes him the first Pakistani leader to meet the reclusive Taliban chief. Fazlur Rehman stated that the main purpose of the visit was to address issues through mutual understanding, and he expressed gratitude for the warm welcome from the Taliban leader.

After a week-long trip to Afghanistan, where he met with top Taliban leaders, Fazlur Rehman returned to Pakistan. The visit followed a meeting with Afghanistan’s interim ambassador to Pakistan, Sardar Ahmad Jan Shakib, who discussed the need for peace in the region.

The Pakistani Foreign Office distanced itself from Fazlur Rehman’s visit, clarifying that he went to Afghanistan in his individual capacity, not as a representative of the Government of Pakistan. Fazlur Rehman, according to JUI-F statements, was confident in his ability to facilitate dialogue and resolve issues between the two sides.

In an interview conducted in Pashto, Fazlur Rehman expressed gratitude that the objectives of the visit were achieved and described his meeting with Akhundzada as positive. He rejected the notion that the two countries were against each other, emphasizing the goal of working together.

Fazlur Rehman acknowledged tensions between the two countries after the Taliban’s takeover in August 2021. He mentioned past accusations of attacks exchanged between both sides. In November, the caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan called on the Afghan Taliban government to take action against the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban-Pakistan.

Recently, Afghanistan temporarily closed the Torkham crossing for trade, citing document rules for commercial vehicle drivers crossing the border.

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