Afghan envoy to return to Islamabad after PM Imran’s remarks clarified


KABUL: (DNA) – Afghanistan will return its ambassador to Islamabad after Pakistan clarified Prime Minister Imran Khan’s remarks that Kabul had deemed to be political interference, the Afghan foreign ministry said on Thursday.On Wednesday, Pakistan’s Foreign Office clarified that PM Imran’s comments on Afghanistan had been misinterpreted and reported out of context in the media, leading to an unwarranted reaction from various quarters.In his comments on Monday, the prime minister had referred to Pakistan’s model where elections are held under an interim government. “The comments should not be misinterpreted to imply interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs,” an FO statement said.

The Afghan government recalled ambassador Atif Mashal from Islamabad on Tuesday and demanded an explanation for remarks that it called “irresponsible”.

Finally, after the clarifications, “Mashal will return to Islamabad”, Afghan foreign ministry spokesman Sibghatullah Ahmadi said in a tweet.

Afghanistan also summoned Pakistan’s deputy ambassador to discuss the “irresponsible” remarks by the prime minister, said foreign affairs ministry spokesperson Sibghatullah Ahmadi in a series of tweets on Tuesday.

Kabul has demanded an explanation from Islamabad three times in just over a month for comments related to peace talks aimed at ending 17 years of war in Afghanistan.

US and Taliban officials have held several rounds of talks but the Taliban have refused to talk directly to the Afghan government, which they consider an illegitimate “puppet” regime.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s mandate officially expires in May and he faces a re-election battle. But the date for the vote has been postponed twice and is now set for Sept. 28.

The president has been shut out from the peace talks and is under pressure from rivals to step aside and allow a caretaker government to take over, a suggestion he has rejected.