Pakistan, US agree to push for Afghan reconciliation
US Special Representative Ambassador Richard Olson and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry reached the agreement at a meeting in Islamabad late on Saturday.
Separately, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif hailed an ongoing military operation in North Waziristan as a success. However, he called an unregulated border and troubled ties with Afghanistan major challenges to sustaining the achievements.
Speaking to a congressional delegation led by Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the army chief also referred to the security challenges faced by Pakistan and its contribution to regional stability.
Pakistan’s successes in war on terror and the need for effective border management to check illegal movements were also discussed, a statement from the military said about the meeting at the army headquarters in Rawalpindi.
The Foreign Office said about Olson’s meeting with Aizaz Chaudhry: “Both sides agreed on continued constructive engagement between Pakistan and the United States in the areas of trade, investment, education, health and energy.”
Chaudhry renewed Pakistan’s commitment to the Quadrilateral Coordination Group as an effective forum to facilitate an Afghan-led reconciliation process.
The return of Afghan refugees also figured at the meetings in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Olson also met Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.Olson appreciated Pakistan’s efforts for long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan.
He recognised that Pakistan’s role in hosting Afghan refugees for more than 35 years should not be forgotten by the international community. He stressed creating pull factors for sustainable repatriation of Afghan refugees.
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