The chief of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, has arrived in Kabul leading a delegation of Pakistani officials as the Taliban is set to announce the formation of a new government. He has also become the first high-ranking foreign official to visit the Taliban-led Afghanistan.
Pakistan journalist Hamza Azhar Salam said that Hameed is visiting Afghanistan at the invitation of the Taliban to discuss the future of the two countries. "DG ISI, Lt Gen Faiz Hameed has arrived in #Kabul leading a delegation of Pakistani officials on the invitation of the Taliban to discuss the future of #Pakistan and #Afghanistan ties under the new Taliban government," he tweeted.
Pakistan and its intelligence agency have been accused of supporting the Taliban in taking over Afghanistan.
The Taliban leadership had their headquarters in Pakistan and were often said to be in direct contact with the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency.
Speaking to reporters in Washington, India's Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla on Friday said that Pakistan has "supported and nurtured" the Taliban that replaced the elected government.
"Pakistan is a neighbour of Afghanistan, they have supported and nurtured the Taliban. There are various elements that are supported by Pakistan -- so its role has to be seen in that context."
Who is Faiz Hameed?
Lt Gen Faiz Hameed is the chief of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence. He was appointed the chief of the Pakistan Army’s strategic intelligence agency in June 2019. His appointment had raised eyebrows because he had replaced Lt Gen. Asim Munir, who was appointed just eight months before him.
According to an article in The Print, Hameed was picked by the Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa "to be his master’s voice". Reportedly, Hameed’s relationship with Bajwa dates back to the early to mid-2010s, when the former was a brigadier and posted as Chief of Staff at the Rawalpindi-based 10th Corps where Bajwa was the field commander officer. Later, Hameed was promoted as major general and sent to 16th infantry division at Pannu Aqil. After coming back to Rawalpindi, "Hameed grew so powerful in that position that many viewed him as the main man running the ISI and not Lt Gen. Naveed Mukhtar, who served as the DG ISI from December 2016 to October 2018," said the article.
Earlier in August, images of Faiz Hameed with the Taliban leadership offering prayers led by Taliban Imam, had surfaced on social media. The viral images also included Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Sheikh Abdul Hakim, reports said.
(With AP and ANI inputs)