Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s Office on Tuesday announced that former ambassador Asif Ali Khan Durrani was appointed as Pakistan’s special representative for Afghanistan two and a half months after his predecessor stepped down.
Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday confirmed that Prime Minster Shehbaz Sharif had approved Asif Ali Khan Durrani as the new envoy for Afghanistan.
Mr. Durrani is an expert Pakistani politician who has previously served as Pakistan’s Ambassador to Iran, Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates.
His appointment comes at a time when Pakistanis are wrestling with complex challenges including increasing security threats and attacks mostly launched by the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Pakistani authorities have repeatedly claimed that TTP leaders have safe sanctuaries on Afghan soil from where they coordinate and launch attacks on Pakistan.
However, Taliban authorities have denied such claims and said the TTP issue is an internal problem of the Pakistan government and the caretaker Afghan government would not allow any militant groups to use Afghan soil posing threats against the security of any country in the region and beyond. The new envoy will have his work cut out as he has to deal with multiple challenges.
Unlike past, Pakistan is no longer interested in holding direct talks with the TTP, however, the Afghan Taliban still insists on dialogue. It is believed that Afghan Taliban, the TTP’s ideological twin has some level of influence over the Islamist group, as they previously mediated between the TTP and the Pakistani government and hold a meeting in Kabul.
Meanwhile, it is believed that China is trying to find a workable solution to tackle TTP between Pakistan and the Afghan interim government.