Taliban diplomats have begun work at the Afghan embassy in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, and at Afghan consulates in other cities in Pakistan, two Taliban officials and two Afghan diplomats told FLY Thursday (28/10). FLY obtained a copy of the official Taliban notice which was sent to the Afghan embassy in Islamabad.
Pakistani officials said they had allowed the deployment even though Pakistan had not yet recognized the Taliban government. In addition, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Kabul, Mansoor Khan, confirmed the issuance of visas for Taliban officials, when asked FLY via Whatsapp.
“This visa is issued to facilitate consular work and visa facilities for Pakistanis visiting Afghanistan for humanitarian work and providing assistance to Afghan people in Pakistan,” Khan said. He added that the issuance of the visa was “not for recognition but for facilitation.”
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged the international community for dialogue with the Taliban to avoid a humanitarian crisis and instability in Afghanistan since the Taliban seized the capital, Kabul, in mid-August.
A Taliban official who spoke with FLY on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media saying that Sardar Muhammad Shokaib, also known as Mosa Farhad, was in charge of first secretary at the Afghan embassy in Islamabad.
An Afghan diplomat who has worked in Islamabad since the previous administration of president Ashraf Ghani said that Shokaib had taken over the de facto “charge of charge” position because there was currently no ambassador at the Afghan embassy.
“He oversees all diplomatic affairs because the ambassadorial post has been vacant since the withdrawal of the ambassador by the previous government in July,” he said.
An official at Pakistan’s foreign ministry told FLY, On condition of anonymity, he believed the Taliban’s appointment at the Afghan Embassy “is an administrative matter, to enable the mission to function properly.”
Afghanistan withdrew its ambassador and senior diplomat from Islamabad in July in protest over the alleged kidnapping and mistreatment of the daughter of Afghan Ambassador Najibullah Alikhil. The princess, Silsila Alikhil, who was visiting Islamabad, said she was kidnapped while shopping in Islamabad and held for hours by unidentified men. He also said he was beaten. Pakistan investigated the incident but denied that he was kidnapped.
The Taliban also appointed diplomats at the Afghan consulates in Pakistan’s three provincial capitals, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta. [uh/ab]