Afghanistan’s acting commerce minister met Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani in Islamabad this week to discuss trade and how the thousands of Afghan citizens Pakistan is expelling could take cash and other assets back to their homeland.
The visit took place less than a week after caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar pinned the recent surge in terrorist attacks on the Taliban government in Afghanistan while also calling it a reaction to the deportation drive.
He had said that despite reassurances from the Afghan government of taking action against terrorism, “no actions were taken against the anti-Pakistan groups”.
On the other hand, Taliban officials say militancy is an internal matter for Pakistan and have called on Islamabad to halt its deportation of Afghan citizens.
In a statement today, Afghanistan’s embassy in Islamabad said an Afghan delegation led by Taliban Acting Commerce Minister Haji Nooruddin Azizi met Jilani.
“Bilateral trade, especially the stranded goods of (Afghan) traders in Karachi port, smooth transfer of (Afghan) refugees’ properties to (Afghanistan) and related issues were discussed,” it added.
Afghan citizens returning to Afghanistan have said there are restrictions on the transfer of cash and property to Afghanistan from Pakistan, where many had built businesses and homes for decades.
Meanwhile, in a post on X (formerly Twitter), the Foreign Office said Jilani conveyed the message that: “Full potential for regional trade and connectivity can be harnessed with collective action against terrorism.”
Last month, the government set a Nov 1 start date for the expulsion of all undocumented immigrants, including hundreds of thousands of Afghans. It cited security reasons, brushing off calls to reconsider from the United Nations, rights groups and Western embassies.
Humanitarian organisations have raised alarm at the dire conditions many Afghans who have recently returned are facing with few resources as the cold winter season begins and say many are staying in crowded shelters near the border operated by NGOs and Taliban authorities.
The foreign office said the Taliban acting commerce minister would also undertake a trilateral meeting with representatives from Pakistan and Uzbekistan on Tuesday.
The agenda for the trilateral meeting was not clear, but the three countries have been working on plans for trade transit and railway connections between South and Central Asia that would cross through Afghanistan.