Taliban sends envoy to take charge of embassy in Pakistan

Islamabad (AFP) – A Taliban envoy has been sent to neighbouring Pakistan to take charge of the Afghan embassy, two months after the hardline Islamist group seized power, officials said Friday.


Sardar Ahmad Khan Shokaib was appointed as first secretary in Islamabad, while Taliban officials are also now in place at consulates in Peshawar, Karachi and Quetta.

The new Taliban rulers have yet to be formally recognised by any foreign government, including Pakistan, meaning Shokaib cannot assume the title of ambassador.

"These diplomats will take care of the affairs in the embassy and in the three consulates," a Taliban source told AFP.

"They will formally take charge on Monday," a source close to the Peshawar consulate added.

The last ambassador of the Afghan embassy was withdrawn by the former US-backed government several months ago following the alleged kidnapping of his daughter in leafy Islamabad.

A spokesman for Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said the move would allow the embassy to perform consular functions, with the country hosting millions of Afghan refugees.

"I understand they have made similar appointments in their embassies in some other countries," the spokesman added.

Pakistan has long faced US accusations of playing a double game in Afghanistan and has historically had close ties to the Taliban leadership.

Prime Minister Imran Khan's government has called on the world to engage with the Taliban and provide economic support to the aid-dependent country which has seen funding frozen by Western donors since the takeover.