South Asia

Nizamani poised for appointment as Pakistan’s envoy in Kabul

Ubaid Ur Rehman Nizamani, the current head of Pakistan’s mission in Afghanistan, is expected to be appointed as Pakistan’s ambassador to Kabul after his anticipated promotion, according to reports from Pakistani media on Tuesday.

According to The News, Pakistan’s caretaker foreign minister Jalil Abbas Jilani has confirmed that Nizamani, who has previously held diplomatic positions in Washington, New Delhi, Dhaka, Berlin, and Jeddah, is set to be elevated to the rank of ambassador and will assume the role of Pakistan’s envoy in Kabul.

If approved by the Pakistan’s Prime Minister’s Office, this appointment would make Pakistan the second country, after China, to have an ambassador stationed in Kabul without formal recognition of the Taliban administration, which assumed power in August 2021 following the withdrawal of US-led NATO forces from the war-torn nation.

The position has been vacant since the retirement of Mansoor Ahmed Khan in 2022, who was appointed prior to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and served until his retirement.

The foreign minister disclosed that Pakistan and China have explored the expansion of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) into Afghanistan, with the presence of the Chinese ambassador in Kabul serving as a significant step in this endeavor.

It is worth noting that relations between Islamabad and Kabul have been strained since the attempt on Nizamani’s life in December of the previous year, coupled with a notable rise in terrorist incidents in Pakistan.

Following the assassination attempt, Nizamani remained in Pakistan and resumed his duties in April 2023 after a five-month absence. Pakistan has accused Taliban leaders of failing to fulfill their commitment to halt terrorist attacks originating from their territory and has warned of potential actions.

Upon assuming his new role, the Pakistani diplomat met with the acting foreign minister of the Taliban and “discussed a wide range of issues of mutual interest.”