Pakistan and Iran discuss border security, Afghanistan

Pakistan and Iran hold talks on a broad spectrum of topics, including regional security since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

This August 26, 2021 photo shows Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, right, meeting with Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Tehran [File: Iranian Presidency/AFP]

Pakistan and Iran have held wide-ranging bilateral talks on a broad spectrum of topics, including the regional security situation since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and border security, a week after a Pakistani soldier was killed in cross-border fire.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani led his country’s delegation in talks with a team led by Pakistani Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood in the Pakistani capital Islamabad on Tuesday.

“During the session, the two sides reviewed entire spectrum of bilateral relations in all areas including political, economic, trade, connectivity, security, energy, education, and people-to-people exchanges,” said a Pakistani statement on the meeting.

Iran’s foreign ministry did not release a statement on the meeting, and the official news agency IRNA quoted from the Pakistani statement.

Tuesday’s visit was Kani’s first visit to Pakistan since assuming office in the government of newly elected Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

The Pakistani statement said talks were also held on the regional situation, in particular developments in Afghanistan and in the disputed territory of Kashmir, which both Pakistan and India claim in full but administer separate portions of.

“The current situation [in Afghanistan] demanded positive engagement of the international community, urgent provision of humanitarian assistance to alleviate the suffering of the Afghan people, and measures to help build a sustainable economy,” said the Pakistani statement.

The two countries affirmed that they would “coordinate closely at bilateral and regional” forums on Afghanistan, the statement said.

Separately, the Iranian deputy foreign minister also met with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad on Tuesday, Pakistan’s foreign office said.

“[Qureshi] said that Afghanistan required immediate provision of humanitarian assistance and that the international community should fully support the Afghan people at this critical juncture,” a statement said.

“He stressed the importance of continued economic engagement with Afghanistan to avert economic collapse, which could lead to refugee influx and regional instability.”

Details on the talks on the issue of border security were scant in both statements.

On September 28, Pakistan’s military said a paramilitary soldier was killed and another wounded in an attack on a Pakistani border post.

The Pakistan-Iran border runs for roughly 800km (497 miles) along Pakistan’s southwestern and Iran’s eastern sides and has been the site of several security incidents in recent years, mainly targeting Iranian forces.

Source: Al Jazeera