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Bajwa meets Ghani, offers support to Afghanistan

October 03, 2017
KABUL: Accompanied by ISI chief Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar, Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa meets Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the presidential palace on Sunday.—Online
KABUL: Accompanied by ISI chief Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar, Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa meets Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the presidential palace on Sunday.—Online

RAWALPINDI: Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul on Sunday to discuss matters of regional security and issues of common interest.

The one-on-one meeting, held at the Afghan presidential palace, was followed by delegation-level talks, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement on Monday.

According to sources, a meeting of the corps commanders has been called on Tuesday which will discuss internal and external security threats facing the country. Also, the army chief is expected to brief the commanders about his meetings with Afghan leadership.

During the Kabul meetings, issues related to a long-term peace, cooperation against the common threats, coordination between respective counterterrorism campaigns to restrict space for non-state actors, intelligence sharing, trade and commerce, and people-to-people contacts also came under discussion.

Gen Bajwa offered Pakistan’s complete support to Afghanistan in achieving shared interests in the war against terrorism, including training and capacity building of the Afghan security forces.

President Ghani said Afghanistan and Pakistan were friendly countries and they should together move towards enduring peace and stability.

“Peace and stability are for the benefit of both Pakistan and Afghanistan and could lift the people in both countries out of poverty,” Afghanistan’s Tolo News television quoted him as saying.

The prevailing security environment in the region and the state of bilateral relationship were also discussed during the meeting. Both sides agreed on a framework to ensure peaceful environment conducive to political process.

There was also a consensus on regular and focused dialogue at multiple levels to evolve bilateral process for minimising misunderstanding, managing crisis situations and enhancing cooperation.

Gen Bajwa visited Kabul in an attempt to bridge the growing trust deficit between the two countries.

On his arrival in Kabul, the COAS was received by the Afghan army chief and was presented with a guard of honour, the ISPR said.

Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Omar Zakhilwal described the meeting between the two leaders as encouraging. “Candid, positive, respectful, constructive and encouraging meeting in a long time. I’m proud to have played a facilitating role in all this,” he tweeted.

From the Afghan side, the Afghan second vice president, first and second deputy chief executive officers, interior minister, the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan and the Afghan army chief attended the meeting.

Gen Bajwa was accompanied by the foreign secretary, director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence and Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan, among others.

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2017