ISLAMABAD: Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Sunday telephoned Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to condole the loss of lives in the recent wave of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan.

More than 100 people have lost their lives in terrorist attacks in the neighbouring country; twin suicide blasts near the Afghan parliament on Tuesday afternoon killed dozens and wounded scores more, while a bus carrying civilians was also targeted.

Two other attacks elsewhere in the country killed 12 people and wounded several more, including the Emirati ambassador to Afghanistan.

President Ashraf Ghani issued a statement calling the carnage an attack against humanity and promising to hunt down those responsible.

According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army chief on Sunday emphasised the need for ending the blame game on both sides, since, according to him, this could benefit their common enemy — terrorists.

Gen Bajwa was quoted as saying: “The elements inimical to peace in the region are strengthened by the blame game.”

The COAS suggested a robust border management mechanism and further intelligence cooperation to bring cross-border movement of terrorists to an end.

Since assuming charge of his office in Nov 2016, this is the third time Gen Bajwa has spoken to the Afghan president.

The last time he telephoned President Ghani was on Dec 31 to extend New Year greetings. On this occasion, Gen Bajwa also spoke to Afghan Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah and his counterpart, General Qadam Shah Rahim.

During his telephonic conversation on Sunday, the army chief expressed his sympathies with the families of the victims and empathised with the tragic series of events that have befallen people of both countries over the last many years.

The COAS reiterated Pakistan’s cooperation with the Afghan government and people to eliminate the scourge of terrorism, which was affecting peace and stability of the whole region.

He emphasised that Pakistan had come a long way in its fight against terrorism of all hue and colour and had eliminated all safe havens in the process.

Both nations should rather focus on capitalising upon the gains of the successful Operation Zarb-i-Azb in Pakistan, he said.

President Ashraf Ghani thanked Gen Bajwa for his sentiments and reiterated that both nations must work together for peace and stability in the region.

Published in Dawn January 16th, 2017