ISLAMABAD: Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday briefed Prime Minister Imran Khan on the army’s efforts for regional peace.
The two also discussed the security situation within the country.
“Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa called on Prime Minister Imran Khan at PM Office today. The Army Chief briefed the PM over security matters and the Army’s efforts for durable peace in the region,” according to the official Twitter account of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) that also posts activities of the prime minister.
The meeting happened as the Taliban carried out back-to-back attacks in Kabul and Kandahar over the past two days. Taliban representatives are, meanwhile, holding talks with US officials in Doha under a Pakistan-facilitated process. There were expectations at the start of the latest (seventh) round of Taliban-US talks that the insurgent group would in parallel agree to start negotiations with Afghan representatives over a political settlement of the dispute, which is in its eighteenth year.
The attacks have, however, poured cold water on the hopes of a breakthrough in Doha.
A spokesperson for Taliban’s Doha-based political office tweeted that the insurgent group would commence talks with Afghan elements only once an internationally guaranteed timeframe for withdrawal of foreign troops is given, however, the Ghani administration would not be engaged as a government. The tweet showed the hardening of insurgents’ conditions for starting intra-Afghan process.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, meanwhile, through a statement said that the Taliban attack in Kabul shows that they want to continue violence and war.
Pakistan has strongly condemned the attack in Kabul.
Although, the Afghan government has publicly shared a lower casualty figure from Kabul attack than the actual numbers, international media has cited that the casualties could be as high as 40.
“Such attacks are detrimental to the cause of peace, security and stability in Afghanistan,” Foreign Office said in a statement. “Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We offer our sympathies and condolences to the bereaved families,” it further said.
Meanwhile, one of the advisers of PM Khan said: “In line with the directive of the Prime Minister, Alhamdolillah we are all set to operationalise Torkham Border round the clock from August 2019. Arrangements in this regard finalised in a meeting of all stakeholders today.”
It is believed to be one of the tangible outcomes from Mr Ghani’s two-day visit to Pakistan in which he put a lot of emphasis on enhancing trade and economic cooperation and improving connectivity. In his public talk at ISSI, the Afghan president had said that containers getting held up created negativity.
Published in Dawn, July 2nd, 2019