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Pak NSA cancels Afghan visit amid anti-Islamabad protests, says report


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Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf has cancelled his planned visit to Afghanistan in view of a planned anti-Pakistan protest in Kabul, according to a media report on Wednesday.

Yusuf was scheduled to lead an inter-ministerial Pakistani delegation to Afghanistan on Jan 18 to discuss the issue of border-fencing and take stock of the humanitarian needs of the war-torn country with the Taliban regime.

However, NSA Yusuf scrapped his two-day visit as a massive protest against Pakistan was planned at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan’s Pajhwok Afghan News reported.

Quoting a diplomatic source, the news outlet said Yusuf decided against the visit to avoid “certain embarrassment”.

Pakistani officials said Yusuf’s visit was postponed due to inclement weather.

Hundreds of Afghans held anti-Pakistan placards and marched to the airport on Tuesday, calling Islamabad’s policy “two-faced”, the source said.

Tensions have been rising between the two neighbours over fencing of the British-era Durand Line, which Kabul does not recognise as a formal international border.

Border-fencing was among the key topics of discussion during Yusuf’s visit.

Pakistan has completed almost 90 per cent fencing work along the 2,670-km international border to stop an easy passage for militants.

Last month, videos began to circulate on social media, purportedly showing members of the Afghan Taliban uprooting a portion of the fence along the border, claiming that they were erected inside Afghan territory.

Pakistani officials earlier said Yusuf’s visit would help extend humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

Concerns over Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis have been discussed at the United Nations.

On January 13, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that millions of Afghans were on the “verge of death,” urging the international community to fund the UN’s $5 billion humanitarian appeal, release the country’s frozen assets and reignite its banking system to avert a major economic and social collapse.

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