Internal security concerns: Afghan interior minister postpones Pakistan visit

Afghan diplomat in Islamabad says new dates will be worked out in consultation with Pakistani officials

Tahir Khan June 29, 2015
Interior Minister Noorul Haq Ulomi. PHOTO: FILE


After a spate of bombings, Afghanistan’s Interior Minister Noorul Haq Ulomi has postponed his visit to Pakistan due to ‘serious security issues’ at home, the Afghan interior ministry said on Sunday.

“Interior Minister Noorul Haq Ulomi was invited to pay an official visit to Pakistan. However, the visit has been postponed because of serious internal security issues,” the ministry said in a statement. It added that the visit will now take place at a ‘suitable time’.

An Afghan diplomat in Islamabad also confirmed to The Express Tribune that Ulomi’s trip scheduled for this week has been postponed. New dates will be worked out after consultation with Pakistani officials, he said.

The development comes  in the wake of Taliban gains in Afghanistan’s Kunduz and Nuristan provinces. Although Afghan officials say they have retaken the areas, the Taliban have disputed the claim.

The Taliban’s brazen attack on the highly secure parliament building earlier this week also raised questions over security in the capital.

According to Afghan media, members of the lower house on Saturday criticised the interior minister, the chief of the National Directorate of Security and the director of operations of the defence ministry over the appointments of ‘unprofessional’ officials in security bodies.

Ulomi, meanwhile, told the house that the lack of heavy weapons and a strong air force were the main factors preventing them from effectively dealing with armed groups.

Kabul urges Islamabad to take ‘practical steps’

A spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani called on Pakistan on Sunday to “take practical steps for honouring commitments” to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.

Deputy Presidential Spokesman Zahir Hashmi acknowledged that Pakistan had made promises but said “Afghans will consider these pledges useful if Pakistan takes practical steps. We now want action on commitments,” he told Radio Azadi.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2015.