Pakistan Spy Agency ISI Hosts Heads of Intelligence from China, Russia, Iran and 4 Central Asian Nations
Intelligence chiefs of Pakistan, China, Russia and five other central Asian countries met in Islamabad on Saturday to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, sources said.
The discussion hosted by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) director general General Faiz Hameed saw the participation of the heads of intelligence of China, Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Notably, the foreign ministers of Pakistan, China, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan had met earlier this week for the same purpose. Russia was conspicuously absent at the meeting.
The high-level meeting comes days after General Faiz Hameed’s return from Afghan capital Kabul, which he visited on the invitation of the Taliban.
According to reports, the Pakistani delegation led by the powerful intelligence chief was expected to discuss the immediate future of Pakistan and Afghanistan’s security, economic and trade ties with the Taliban leadership.
Meanwhile, Russia and other central Asian countries are closely monitoring the rapid developments in Afghanistan and have had their guard up since the Taliban began its offensive against the US-backed Afghan government, which culminated in the democratic regime’s collapse amid the pullout of American troops and the insurgent group seizing power.
Last week, the Taliban announced its new interim government, headed by Mohammad Hasan Akhund, with Abdul Ghani Baradar as his deputy. The Taliban invited six countries to the inaugural ceremony of the new government – Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and Qatar.
However, media reports stated that the inauguration event was cancelled
after the Taliban was pressured against holding one by allies. Russia had also reportedly refused to attend the ceremony if it was held on the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks in the US.
Former Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an op-ed that Russia and other central Asian countries could face a new wave of a migration crisis owing to the situation in Afghanistan, TASS news agency stated in a report.
Russia has also expressed concerns that with the rise of Taliban in Afghanistan, radical Islamist threats could emanate and spill over into Central Asia.