Ambassador Durrani appointed special envoy on Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD: Former Ambassador Asif Ali Durrani on Tuesday was appointed as special representative of Pakistan on Afghanistan.

The announcement came after a lapse of around two months when former special envoy on Afghanistan, Mr Mohammad Sadiq, resigned.

A notification on the new appointment reads: “The Prime Minister has been pleased to approve the appointment of Ambassador (retd) Asif Ali Khan Durrani as Special Representative on Afghanistan with immediate effect.”

Ambassador Durrani, a career diplomat, served as deputy chief of Pakistan’s mission in Kabul from 2005 to 2009. He also served as Pakistan’s ambassador to Iran and United Arab Emirates (UAE). Currently, Mr Durrani was serving as Senior Research Fellow in Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI). Mr Durrani comes from a family of seasoned diplomats and bureaucrats from Quetta, Balochistan, and has mastered the skill of resolving issues amicably.

However, Mr Durrani has a challenging job at hand as relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan are complex now-a-days and recent incidents and attacks from Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and its splinter groups have added to the misunderstandings between the two neighbours.

Moreover, Mr Durrani’s appointment also comes amid discussions being made to expand the multi-billion-dollar project of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) into Afghanistan which can connect the landlocked Central Asia to the rest of the world through Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Afghanistan, which is going to become a pivot country in the trade and connectivity through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) launched by China, can benefit hugely if peace and stability can return to the conflict-hit nation which is facing war since past 40 years.

Though both countries have an opportunity to start afresh following the recent trilateral dialogue as Chinese Foreign Minister Mr Qin Gang and Afghan’s Acting Foreign Minister Mr Amir Khan Muttaqi visited Pakistan. The meeting ended on a positive note and a joint communique was issued which reflected development on major issues including trade and joint action against terrorism.

Mian Abrar
Mian Abrar
The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He tweets as @mian_abrar and also can be reached at [email protected]

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