Afghan spy chief visits Pakistan in wake of Kabul attacks
ISLAMABAD – Reuters
Afghanistan’s intelligence chief visited Pakistan on Jan. 31, officials said, at a time when tension between the neighbors is simmering over accusations that Pakistan offers a safe haven for Taliban militants.
The visit comes amid anger in Afghanistan over an attack on a luxury hotel and a car bomb in the capital, Kabul, that killed more than 120 people, which the government has blamed on Haqqani network militants believed to operate out of Pakistan.
“The Afghan government had requested that a high-level delegation would like to visit Pakistan with a message from the Afghan president,” Pakistan’s foreign office spokesman, Mohammad Faisal, said in a Twitter message.
It followed a Taliban-claimed attack a week earlier that killed more than 20 people in a siege of the city’s Intercontinental Hotel.
Ties between the United States and Pakistan are brittle after Washington announced plans this month to suspend up to roughly $2 billion in U.S. security assistance.
U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that Pakistan had rewarded past U.S. aid with “nothing but lies and deceit.”
Pakistan is widely blamed in Kabul for the attacks and a senior Afghanistan cleric this week criticized a fatwa against suicide attacks issued by Pakistani religious authorities for not explicitly declaring attacks in Afghanistan haram, or unlawful for Muslims.
“The delegation, led by the foreign secretary, will hold constructive and meaningful discussions with Afghanistan on all issues including counter-terrorism, peace and reconciliation and repatriation of refugees,” the embassy said in a statement.