Woman Pakistani minister to talk with all-male Afghan Taliban government

Islamabad, Nov 28 (EFE).- Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan’s woman Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, will visit Afghanistan on Tuesday for talks with the de facto Taliban government, amid an escalating border dispute between the two neighbors.

The visit is significant since the Taliban is an all-male regime that has ignored worldwide calls for women’s representation in administering the war-torn country.

The female minister will lead the delegation instead of her boss, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, for talks with the Islamist government, accused of curbing women’s rights.

According to a foreign ministry statement, Khar will speak to Taliban officials to discuss bilateral ties, including cooperation in areas of education, trade and investment, regional connectivity, people-to-people contacts, and matters related to regional security.

“(The) minister of state will reaffirm Pakistan’s continued commitment and support for all efforts aimed at strengthening peace and enhancing prosperity in Afghanistan,” the statement said.

“As a friend and neighbour of Afghanistan, Pakistan will reaffirm its abiding solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, in particular through its efforts to ease the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and to create real opportunities for economic prosperity of Afghan men, women and children.”

Last week, Pakistan reopened a key border crossing with Afghanistan for trade and pedestrian movements a week after it was closed over a shooting incident that left a Pakistani security guard dead.

Known as the “Bab-e-Dosti (the friendship gate), the southwestern border crossing connects the Wesh area in landlocked Afghanistan with Chaman in Pakistan.

The gate was closed after an unknown assailant opened fire and killed a Pakistani soldier on duty.

In a separate incident, escalation between the two countries increased due to a land dispute in the Parachinar area in the Kurram tribal district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The border dispute between Pakistan and Afghanistan is old.

Afghanistan does not accept the boundary between the two countries as an international border calling it the Durand Line.

Pakistan considers the 2,640-km-long border as an international boundary and erected a barbed wire along it.

In the past, there have been some incidents of the Taliban fighters uprooting some parts of the wire.

The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August last year raised hopes that Pakistan would enjoy better relations with Kabul compared to previous governments.

Pakistan also demanded the de facto Taliban government take action against the Pakistani Taliban militants who they say are hiding in Afghanistan.

However, since coming to power, the Afghan Taliban have not taken any such action, rather playing the role of mediator between the Pakistan government and the Taliban. EFE


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