Pakistani parliament speaker Asad Qaiser’s planned three-day visit to Kabul was canceled on Thursday following reports that an unexploded ordinance had been found at the airport.
Riaz Arian, the commander of Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIR) said that Qaisar’s flight was diverted because of the relocation of an unexploded ordinance from under a building near the airport.
Meanwhile, an official from NATO’s Resolute Support Mission said that a digging crew uncovered unexploded ordinance that appears to have been buried "for quite some time" in the area.
“During construction at HKIA international airport, a digging crew uncovered unexploded ordinance that appears to have been buried for quite some time. The explosives were uncovered in an unoccupied area far from any active runway. Turkish military explosives experts conducted a controlled detonation to render the device safe. Flight operations resumed shortly thereafter,” said the RS official.
“We have a team which works in coordination with the Americans. At around 10:30 am they told us that an explosive device had been placed near the runway, but when we visited the site where we are constructing a new building, we saw the explosive material,” added Riaz Arian, the security commander of Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIR).
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan Mansour Ahmad Khan has said that he had a phone conversation with the speaker of Afghan parliament Mir Rahman Rahmani about the cancellation of the flight.
According to the Pakistani ambassador, Assad Qaisar, after landing to Islamabad, said that Pakistan understands the situation and that the trip will be conducted in the near future.
Qaisar was due to land in Kabul at 10:40 am Kabul time.
The speaker of the Afghan parliament Mir Rahman Rahmani said that Qaisar’s trip was important for peace in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan is one of the important neighboring countries. It has a direct role on the peace process in Afghanistan, we are trying to ask the Pakistani government to play a good role in bringing peace to Afghanistan,” said Rahmani.
Four months ago, Rahmani led a high level parliamentary delegation to Islamabad where he met top Pakistani officials, including his counterpart Assad Qaisar.
“We are trying to boost bilateral relations between the two countries, we also try to help the delegations from the two countries make more trips, because relations between the two countries are crucial,” said Najibullah Alikhel, the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan.
“Those items that they had pledged to us in the peace process which also include a reduction in violence, I think some of them were partially implemented and the talks about peace in some extent moved forward,” said Mir Haidar Fazli, the head of parliament’s defense commission.
The expansion of bilateral relations, Pakistani missile shelling on Afghanistan’s soil, and the peace process were supposed to dominate the agenda during Qaisar’s trip to Afghanistan.