CIA Director Discusses Afghan Situation With Pak Army, ISI Chiefs

Islamabad: US’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director William Burns on Thursday met Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) head Lt General Faiz Hamid during which they discussed issues related to regional security issues and the current situation in Afghanistan, the Pakistan military said.

The meeting was held after the Taliban on Tuesday unveiled a hardline interim government with at least 14 members of the Cabinet, including Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund – who is on the UN Security Council’s terrorism blacklist – as the acting Prime Minister.

William Burns and General Bajwa exchanged views on matters of mutual interest, regional security and the current situation in Afghanistan, the Pakistan Army’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said in a statement.

ISI Director-General Faiz Hamid was also present during the meeting, it said.

“It was reiterated that Pakistan remains committed to cooperate with its international partners for peace in the region and ensuring a stable and prosperous future for (the) Afghan people,” the statement said.

William Burns’ Islamabad visit – the first high-level visit by a US official to Pakistan after the completion of US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan on August 31- comes days after the ISI chief dashed to Kabul on an unannounced visit last week and met Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

Before coming to Pakistan, US intelligence chief Burns, accompanied by other officials, reportedly paid a quiet visit to India, primarily to discuss ways to mitigate security threats that may emanate from Afghanistan.

It was learnt that William Burns held talks with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and a number of senior officials of the National Security Secretariat on Tuesday. However, there was no official statement on the visit by either the Indian security establishment or the US embassy in New Delhi.

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