ISLAMABAD: Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua visited Kabul on Monday for continuing negotiations on a bilateral engagement plan — Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity — and held meetings with President Ashraf Ghani and other senior Afghan officials.
She was accompanied by Director General of Military Operations Maj Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza and other security officials.
The second round of Pak-Afghan talks on the engagement plan focusing on peace and security issues held in February had ended without making any headway on its key elements because the Afghan delegation felt that their priorities were not being addressed.
Progress in ties, however, happened towards the end of last month (February) when President Ghani invited the Taliban for peace talks and pledged to improve ties with Pakistan.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is slated to visit Kabul next Friday. Ms Janjua’s visit was, therefore, also linked to preparing the ground for PM Abbasi’s trip.
Meanwhile, Pakistan and the United States (US) on Monday agreed on injecting positivity in ties and not remaining hostage to perceptions.
This was agreed at a meeting in Islamabad between Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Bajwa and US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice Wells.
Ambassador Wells had last Thursday held meetings with Foreign Secretary Janjua and National Security Adviser retired Lt Gen Nasser Janjua and discussed the situation in Afghanistan.
“Both agreed that bilateral convergences should be leveraged to gain positive momentum rather than remaining hostage to perceptions,” the ISPR said in a statement. “COAS reiterated that Pakistan is committed to peace and stability in the region particularly in Afghanistan through a national approach. … and expects other players in the region to play equally positive part,” it added.
The US has been trying to improve relations between Islamabad and Kabul.
Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2018
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