Amir Khan Muttaqi, the acting foreign minister of the Taliban, claimed that substantial progress had been made in resolving issues between Pakistan and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), asserting that a deal was within reach before Islamabad withdrew.
Muttaqi disclosed these claims during a conversation with Pakistani Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed in Tehran, taking place on the sidelines of the Palestine conference hosted by Iran.
Senator Mushahid, clarifying that he did not represent the Pakistani government during the interaction, shared details of his informal discussion with Muttaqi over dinner upon his return from Tehran. The focus of the conversation revolved around the current state of relations between Pakistan and the Taliban concerning the TTP issue.
According to Mushahid, Muttaqi conveyed the Taliban’s eagerness to resolve all outstanding issues with Islamabad through dialogue. He asserted that after a series of meetings between Pakistani officials and TTP leadership, the majority of issues were resolved, and both parties were on the brink of a deal brokered by the Taliban.
The primary sticking point was the merger of the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata). The TTP sought the reversal of the Fata merger, but Muttaqi claimed Pakistan backed out of the talks, resulting in a stalemate.
Pakistani officials, however, attributed the breakdown to the TTP, accusing them of exploiting the talks to regroup.
Islamabad set explicit conditions for any deal with the TTP, including accepting the state’s authority, adherence to the Constitution and law, and complete disarmament, with the Fata merger being a non-negotiable red line.
Reflecting on his interaction with Muttaqi, Mushahid highlighted some main points from his meeting. “First, reflecting Afghan psyche, Mr. Muttaqi made it clear that ‘Afghanistan instinctively reacts negatively to pressure and rejects any intimidation or threats from anyone’,” Mushahid wrote in a post on X, emphasizing the need for diplomatic solutions and acknowledging Afghanistan’s pride and resistance to external pressure.