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Kabul talks focus on security, drawdown

Kabul talks focus on security, drawdown

May 19, 2014 - 22:28

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): At a day-long trilateral meeting in Kabul, Afghanistaninfo-icon, Pakistaninfo-icon and NATOinfo-icon-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAFinfo-icon) military leaders on Monday agreed to increase coordination in combating terrorism on both sides of the Durand Lineinfo-icon.

The four-star level meeting was attended by Afghan Defence Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Sher Muhammad Karimi, his Pakistani counterpart Gen. Raheel Sharif and US and ISAF commander Gen. Joseph Dunford.

Other high-level military officials from the three sides also attended the meeting, with the Afghans expressing their concern over a May 15 skirmish and the situation in the border region.

Defence Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Zahir Azimi told Pajhwok Afghan News the high-level meeting discussed how to counter terrorism on both sides of the Durand Line.

“The Pakistan army chief said the decisions made at the meeting should be implemented on the ground,” he said. The participants also agreed to hold follow-up meetings for further discussions on issues of mutual interest.

"Gen. Sher Mohammad Karimi shared his concerns about the recent skirmish on the border.” The Afghan side also discussed security arrangements being put in place for the June 14 second round of presidential elections and urged Pakistan to promise practical cooperation.

It was the 37th trilateral meeting that came amid tension in Kabul over a recent clash between Afghan and Pakistani border guards in the Maroof district of southern Kandahar province.

The clash left one Afghan guard injured, with Afghan officials accusing Pakistani soldiers of violating a three-way agreement by constructing a post in the Zero Point area.

The trilateral meeting comes as Pakistani soldiers fired at least 18 rockets into eastern Kunar province, but caused no casualties, local officials said.   

Gen. Raheel Sharif said they were committed to implementing the decisions taken at the trilateral meeting. He said no effort would be spared to improve security along the border. He called terrorism the common enemy of Pakistan and Afghanistan, saying the neighbours should work jointly to bring peace and stability to the region.

He added peace and stability in Afghanistan meant peace and stability in Pakistan. 

Defence Minister Mohammadi stressed a joint fight on insurgents and extremist forces that threatened both Kabul and Islamabad.

He said Afghanistan preferred friendly relations with Pakistan and peace and stability in Afghanistan was in Pakistan’s interest.

In Islamabad, ISPR spokesman said in a statement issued at the end of the meeting that participants reviewed the current security situation in Afghanistan, besides the transfer of security responsibility to Afghan forces in the wake of US/ISAF drawdown.

Enhanced bilateralism between Pakistan and Afghanistan with particular emphasis on coordination arrangements along Pakistan-Afghanistan border was also deliberated upon during the meeting, the statement said.

Afghan military officials also briefed the Pakistani delegation over the latest security situation in Afghanistan with special emphasis on the Afghan presidential elections.

During the visit, Army Chief Raheel Sharif held separate meetings with Afghan first-vice president Younis Qanuni and Defence Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi during which matters of mutual interest were discussed.


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