Efforts on to deepen cooperation with Kabul, says Islamabad
PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): Pakistan says it is closely engaged with Afghanistan and other international partners in working out a programme of voluntary return of Afghan refugees by creating pull factors in the neighbouring country.
Pakistan continued to host some three million Afghan refugees including 1.5 million undocumented people, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the Senate in a written statement on Tuesday.
The upper house was told Pakistan viewed Afghanistan as a brotherly country and remained engaged in efforts for deepening bilateral relations.Efforts to promote lasting peace in Afghanistan and friendly exchanges were ongoing, the ministry said.
Issues related to cooperation in different areas like border management, security, counter-terrorism, economic and trade interaction, transit trade are being discussed bilaterally with Afghanistan at all levels.
Islamabad believed promoting high-level exchanges with Afghanistan could strengthen mutual cooperation in diverse areas, the ministry said, adding the prime minister and the army chief had visited Kabul with high-level delegations and discussed the ways of enhancing cooperation.
It said the neighbours were pursuing a politically negotiated settlement to bring lasting peace to Afghanistan. As part of those efforts, the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) was established in December 2015, involving Afghanistan, Pakistan, the US and China.
The group has been trying to ensure direct peace talks between Afghan government and the Taliban. Military-to-military cooperation was also being cemented to address the menace of terrorism, it explained.
Measures are being taken to address delays in transit of Afghan goods through Pakistan under the Afghan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA), according to the statement, which said a committee was working to tackle transit trade issues.
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