Taliban seeks ‘good relations’ with New Pakistan government

The Taliban’s spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, expressed hopes for the new Pakistani government to show flexibility regarding the deportation of Afghan refugees.

In a statement to the Taliban-run Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA), Mujahid voiced aspirations for improved relations with Pakistan following the formation of a coalition government led by Shehbaz Sharif and including the Pakistan Muslim League and Pakistan Peoples Party, with Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at the helm.

This coalition emerged after a tumultuous election that sparked protests from supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Mujahid said, “The Taliban wants good relations with Pakistan in economic, diplomatic, cultural, and religious aspects. We hope the new government will consider this.”

Relations between Pakistan and the Taliban have been strained, partly due to security incidents attributed to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an ally of the Afghan Taliban. Islamabad contends that the TTP operates from Afghanistan, a claim the Taliban denies.

Pakistani journalist Tahir Khan noted the complex dynamics, highlighting the absence of negotiations regarding the TTP’s presence in Afghanistan.

Despite not formally congratulating the new government, the Taliban has sought to mend ties through religious delegations led by Maulana Fazal ur Rehman and Maulana Hamid-ul Haq, who visited Kabul in the past two months.

Political analyst Berna Salehi expressed skepticism about future relations, pointing to the Taliban’s inability to curb TTP attacks in Pakistan as a significant hurdle.

The Taliban and TTP have maintained strategic and familial ties since the latter’s establishment in 2007, affecting relations with Islamabad.