ISLAMABAD: The intelligence chiefs of key regional countries including Pakistan, China, Russia, Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan held a rare meeting in Islamabad on Saturday to discuss the evolving situation in Afghanistan and how to cooperate for ensuring peace and stability.
Though there was no official confirmation from any side, sources confirmed that Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt General Faiz Hameed hosted the spy chiefs of the key regional players.
The participants of the meeting exchanged views on the security situation in Afghanistan, a few days after the Taliban announced an interim government to fill the political void. The meeting, sources added, took place against the backdrop of the unfolding situation in Afghanistan where the Afghan Taliban returned to power after being ousted from Kabul following the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
The latest meeting hosted by Pakistan ISI chief for the regional intelligence chiefs suggested Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts to develop consensus on the way forward for Afghanistan.
Pakistan is keen that the world, particularly the regional countries do not leave Afghanistan alone and accept the new reality. The meeting of regional intelligence chiefs is also significant in the context of possible negative fallout of instability in Afghanistan on its neighbours.
Lt Gen Hameed last week visited Kabul to meet with the Taliban representatives and discuss matters related to the safe evacuation of foreign nationals, border management, and security in the region, sources had said at the time.
It is also pertinent to note that Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director William Joseph Burns held a meeting with Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa earlier this week and discussed the evolving situation in Afghanistan, according to a statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
In the statement, the military’s media wing said that Lt Gen Faiz Hameed was also present during the meeting, which focused on the Afghanistan situation and regional security after the US’ withdrawal of troops and the formation of the Taliban government in Kabul.
“It was reiterated that Pakistan remains committed to cooperate with its international partners for peace in the region and ensuring a stable and prosperous future for [the] Afghan people,” the ISPR said.
The CIA chief appreciated Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan, including the successful evacuation operation, efforts for regional stability and pledged to play a role for further improvement in diplomatic cooperation with Pakistan at all levels.
There have been a flurry of visits being undertaken by foreign ministers of several countries as well as intelligence chiefs.
Pakistan, Russia, China and central Asian states are worried that further instability in Afghanistan may jeopardise the security of the entire region. They are particularly concerned over terrorist outfits such as ISIS-Khorasan that pose threats not just to the people of Afghanistan but also countries such as Pakistan, China, Iran and Russia.