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ISLAMABAD: In his talks with National Security Adviser retired Lt Gen Nasser Khan Janjua in Kabul on Saturday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called for a clean break from the past and said the parties involved should think of ending the war in Afghanistan, instead of winning it, said a statement issued by the adviser’s office on Sunday.

The Afghan president said he had pinned great hopes on Pakistan. “We have made a sincere and serious offer of peace [to the Taliban] and together we have to make the best of it by moving beyond the past.

“Let’s not remain prisoners of the past and let’s secure our future with the aim not to win the war, but to end it, for which Pakistan should help [Afghanistan],” the statement quoted Mr Ghani as saying.

According to the statement, he also expressed strong support for connectivity with the Central Asian Republics to reap the benefits of ideal geostrategic location of Afghanistan and Pakistan. “Without each other, we are not complete,” he remarked.

The Afghan president called for a roadmap to be prepared for a comprehensive engagement with Pakistan in order to carry the relationship forward. He also invited Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to Kabul for talks.

According to the statement, Gen Janjua thanked Mr Ghani for extending an invitation to Prime Minister Abbasi to Afghanistan and praised the peace offer made by him.

He described the peace offer as “light at the end of the long and dark tunnel of war”.

Seeking the end of the conflict, and not necessarily a victory in it, was the right approach, he said.

The security adviser expressed sympathy with the people of Afghanistan who had seen nothing but war over the past 40 years.

Gen Janjua reiterated the government’s policy of supporting peace efforts in Afghanistan, but said that Pakistan’s image had been tarnished badly by countries that held it responsible for all kinds of terrorist acts in Afghanistan.

According to the statement, Gen Janjua’s Afghan counterpart Haneef Atmar said it was time to build bridges between the two countries. “We have a shared history and a shared future. That is what our ancestors left for us and we have to leave for our children,” the statement quoted Mr Atmar as saying during the talks.

“We should work for our shared interests in all fields, including political, economic and security areas. We must protect our relationship and advance it further.”

During his daylong visit to Kabul, Gen Janjua met Mr Ghani, Mr Atmar, the country’s chief executive and its defence minister.

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2018