Ghani wants defence ties with Pakistan bolstered
KABUL/ISLAMABAD: President Ashraf Ghani on Friday said that his country was willing extend all possible cooperation to Pakistan to jointly curb the menace of terrorism as he was given a high-level briefing on the security situation along Afghanistan-Pakistan border in Rawalpindi.
At the head of a high-level delegation, the Afghan president arrived in Islamabad to build ties with the neighbouring country.
Pakistani military and national security teams briefed Ghani on the border security situation in Rawalpindi, where the Pakistan’s army is headquartered.
DAWN.com reported that Ghani lauded Pakistan’s efforts to fight terrorism and hailed sacrifices rendered by the nation.
"Afghanistan wants to bolster security and defence ties with Pakistan including cooperation in training and border management," Ghani remarked.
Adviser to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, Defence Secretary Lieutenant General (retd) Alam Khattak and Director General Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Lieutenant General Rizwan Akhtar and other senior military officials were present at the briefing.
Besides senior ministers, Ghani was accompanied by Defence Minister Gen Bismillah Muhammadi, Afghan Chief of General Staff Gen Sher Muhammad Karimi and senior Afghan security officials.
On arrival at the GHQ, Gen Raheel received Ghani. A smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Army also presented him with a guard of honour. Ghani also laid a floral wreath at the Shuhada Monument and offered Fateha.
Earlier, Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed to promote bilateral cooperation in economic and trade relations during a meeting between Ghani and Pakistan’s Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad, the Radio Pakistan said.
Aziz said Pakistan accords great significance to its relations with Afghanistan and offered cooperation to Kabul in various sectors.
In Kabul, the Presidential Palace in a statement said President Ghani met Dar at the latter’s residence, with both sides discussing how to increase trade ties, resolve problems being faced by Afghan traders in imports through Pakistan’s seaports and facilities for Afghan traders in area of transit trade.
They also discussed a number of big regional development projects. The Afghan delegation called for providing Afghan traders with essential facilities at the Karachi seaport in order to enable them to transfer their goods to Kabul within a week’s time.
The Afghan delegation also stressed the need for allotting Afghan businessmen separate places for storage of their commercial goods at Karachi, Qasim and Gawadar seaports, the statement said.
Both sides agreed to enhance the existing bilateral trade volume from 42.5 billion to $5 billion over the next two years.
President Ghani, who arrived at the Nur Khan airbase where he was received by Sartaj Aziz, is scheduled to hold a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Mamnoon Hussain on Friday and another meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif tomorrow.
Nawaz and Ghani are also expected to watch a cricket match between the two countries on Saturday.
Pakistan took the first steps to rebuild the frayed ties by sending President Mamnoon Hussain to the oath-taking ceremony of President Ghani. This was followed by visits by Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz and Army Chief Gen. Raheel Sharif.
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