Afghanistan situation: CIA chief William Burns meets Pakistan’s military leadership

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ISLAMABADThe director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), William Joseph Burns, called on Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director-General Lieutenant General Faiz Hamid, said the military’s media wing in a statement on Thursday.

This is the second visit of the CIA director to the region. It was reported earlier that Burns held a secret meeting in Kabul with Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Bradar, the highest-level encounter between the group and the Biden administration since the Taliban’s return to power. Matters of mutual interest, regional security situation and current situation in Afghanistan were discussed.

During the high-level meeting today, it was reiterated that Pakistan remains committed to cooperating with its international partners for peace in the region for a “stable and prosperous future for Afghan people”.

The CIA chief appreciated Pakistan’s role in the Afghan matter, including the successful evacuation operations and efforts for regional stability, added the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

During the meeting, the US official also pledged to play a role for further improvement in diplomatic cooperation with Pakistan at all levels. Earlier in August, the COAS  that Pakistan desired to maintain a long-term and multi-domain enduring relationship with the United States. The statement by Gen Bajwa came after US Charge ’Affairs Angela Agiler called on him at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi.

Pakistan has urged th world  to discard “old lenses” and proceed with a “realistic and pragmatic” approach on Afghanistan in a statement that many observers see as Islamabad’s bid to seek the international community’s support for the interim government of the Afghan Taliban . The statement of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi came a day after the Taliban announced an interim government that drew criticism from the Western countries for ignoring the demands of an inclusive set-up.

Qureshi attended two key meetings on Afghanistan. First he hosted a virtual meeting of the foreign ministers of Iran, China, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. Later, he was part of another meeting co-hosted by the US secretary of state and the German foreign minister.

In both meetings, Qureshi’s message was clear that the world needed to accept the new reality and proceed accordingly. Pakistan’s efforts seeking support for the new government in Afghanistan stems from its fears of a possible economic meltdown and humanitarian crisis if the world abandons the neighboring country. Speaking at the meeting hosted by the US and Germany, Qureshi even called for unfreezing the foreign reserves of Afghanistan that were withheld by the US after the fall of Kabul.