Gen. Sharif’s visit raises hopes of thaw in ties
They say in decisions taken during Gen. Raheel Sharif’s meetings with Afghan leaders, both the sides agreed to work more closely and practically in areas of security, economy and winning peace.
During his day-long visit, Gen. Sharif met separately with President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah, Defence Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, his Afghan counterpart Gen. Mohammad Karimi and National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar.
In these meetings, both the sides discussed how to enhance relations and cooperation on political, economic and security fronts.
Deputy presidential spokesman Faiq Wahidi said President Ahmadzai and the Pakistani army chief during their meeting had decided to practically work for enhancing cooperation in various fields.
Defence Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi told Pajhwok Afghan News the Pakistani army chief’s visit had raised hopes of a thaw in relations and the visit had been different from past such visits.
He said real and practical cooperation in diverse felids was stressed during Raheel’s talks with Afghan Defence Ministry officials.
He said the Pakistani delegation also renewed the offer to train Afghan security forces in Pakistani facilities.
Kabul has accused Islamabad of insincerity in the war against terrorism.
Political expert and former Afghan diplomat in Pakistan, Ahmad Saeedi, said the Pakistan army chief’s visit did not mean all issues between the two countries had been resolved.
He said both the countries had realised what kind of cooperation they needed from each other.
He said the previous Afghan government had adopted a week political stance against the Pakistani government and the new Afghan leadership had changed its policy toward Pakistan.
The Pakistani military said the COAS offered the capacity enhancement of an Afghan infantry brigade, including provision of equipment.
Sharif discussed a host of issues with Afghan leaders including the Pakistan-Afghan relations post-2014.
Sharif called terrorism as a common threat and called for joint efforts to combat it.
Sharif reiterated that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was in Pakistan’s best interest and the only way to ensure regional security was to treat terrorism as common enemy.
DG ISPR General Asim Salim Bajwa tweeted that the meeting between the army chief and Afghan president Ghani ended on a “great deal of goodwill and positivity”.
Sharif also raised the matter of infiltration into Pakistan from Afghanistan, especially attacks on security forces by Mullah Fazlullah group and continuous allegations by some Afghan officials.
The Pakistani media quoted unknown sources as saying that the army chief also raised with Afghan leadership the matter of handing over Fazlullah to Pakistan.
During the meetings with Afghan defence minister and chief of general staff, the Afghan military officials briefed the Pakistani delegation on the latest security situation in Afghanistan.
Transfer of security responsibility to the Afghan National Security Forces in the wake of US, ISAF drawdown and enhanced bilateralism between Pakistan and Afghanistan with particular emphasis on the Pak-Afghan border coordination mechanism, intelligence sharing and transparency were also deliberated upon during the meetings.
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