ISLAMABAD: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Friday assured Pakistan that Afghanistan will extend all possible cooperation to jointly curb the menace of terrorism.
During a high-level briefing given to him on the security situation along the Pak-Afghan border by the Pakistani military and national security teams at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, Ghani lauded Pakistan’s efforts to fight terrorism and hailed sacrifices rendered by the nation.
"Afghanistan wants to bolster security and defence ties with Pakistan including cooperation in training and border management," Ghani remarked.
Those present during the briefing included Adviser to the PM on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, Defence Secretary Lieutenant General (retd) Alam Khattak and Director General Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Lieutenant General Rizwan Akhtar and other senior military officials.
Besides senior ministers, Ghani was accompanied by Defence Minister Gen Bismillah Muhammadi, Afghan Chief of General Staff GenSher Muhammad Karimi and senior Afghan security officials.
On arrival at the GHQ, Gen Raheel received Ghani.
A smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Army also presented him with a guard of honour. Ghani also laid a floral wreath at the Shuhada Monument and offered Fateha.
Pakistan, Afghanistan agree to promote bilateral ties
Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed to promote bilateral cooperation in economic and trade relations for the benefit of the two countries, said a report published on Radio Pakistan.
The agreement came during a meeting between Ghani and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Advisor to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad today.
Speaking on the occasion, Aziz said Pakistan accords great significance to its relations with Afghanistan.
He offered cooperation to Afghanistan in various sectors.
Ghani arrived in Islamabad on Friday for a two-day visit to the country.
He arrived at the Nur Khan airbase where he was received by Sartaj Aziz.
Ghani was accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising senior leaders, cabinet ministers, high-ranking officials and business representatives.
Ghani to hold meetings with Mamnoon, Nawaz
Ghani is scheduled to hold a meeting with President Mamnoon Hussain today and another meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif tomorrow.
Nawaz and Ghani are also expected to watch a cricket match between the two countries on Saturday in a public demonstration of better relations despite fraught cross-border tensions.
Pakistan is one of the first countries President Ghani, who was sworn in in September, has chosen to visit. He earlier toured Saudi Arabia and China.
Ghani’s visit is being regarded as a two-day fence-mending mission.
Its outcome would indicate how the relationship has transformed with the change in government in Kabul from one marred with deep distrust to a cautious desire for cooperation.
Islamabad’s relations with Kabul, which have historically been tense and complicated, plummeted to new lows over the past couple of years due to reignited border disputes, counter-terrorism differences and exchange of allegations. At the root of the tensions between the two countries are unfulfilled expectations on both sides.
The peaceful transition to the unity government in Afghanistan after the elections this year has provided the two countries a unique opportunity to move forward leaving behind the legacy of mutual distrust.
Pakistan took the first steps to rebuild the frayed ties by sending President Mamnoon Hussain to the oath-taking ceremony of President Ghani. This was followed by visits by Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz and Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif.