Pakistan has decided to send its ambassador back to Afghanistan this week, more than four months after he was pulled out because of a failed attempt on his life in Kabul by the Islamic State group, sources said Sunday.
The decision stemmed from an overnight telephone call between Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, according to Pakistani media.
Pakistani media, quoting the Pakistani officials, saying diplomatic movements require secrecy for security reasons. The three-day Eid festivities marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan are expected to begin in Afghanistan this weekend.
Both sides have released brief statements confirming the Saturday contact between the two officials but neither mentioned the planned return of Pakistani Chargé d’affaires Ubaid-ur-Rehman Nizamanit to the Afghan capital.
Muttaqi discussed “a range of important bilateral political, economic, trade and transit issues” with the Pakistani counterpart, the Taliban-led Afghan foreign ministry said Sunday. “Both sides also agreed to improve diplomatic relations,” the statement said without elaborating.
Zardari’s office in Islamabad said that “issues of mutual interest” came under discussion between the two leaders but provided no further details. “The foreign minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to a stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan,” the statement said.
Nizamani was on a routine walk inside the sprawling embassy compound in Kabul on December 2 when shooters opened fire on him from a nearby multistory building. He escaped unhurt, but his Pakistani security guard was hit in the legs by bullets. Pakistan immediately evacuated the chief diplomat and demanded the Taliban enhance the security of its embassy.