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COAS Bajwa lauds Kabul authorities for peace initiative with Taliban

ARMY CHIEF MEETS AFGHAN PRESIDENT GHANI

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From Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa travelled to Kabul for a day-long visit during which he had a one-on-one meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and engaged in delegation-level discussions on issues of bilateral interest, read a press release issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

During the trip that was reportedly made on the Afghan president’s invitation, the army chief also held meetings with Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and the top US commander in Afghanistan Gen John Nicholson.

According to ISPR, Gen Bajwa during his engagements “congratulated Afghanistan authorities on recent peace initiatives especially in respect of the Holy month of Ramazan/Eid”, a reference to the week-long ceasefire with the Taliban announced by Ghani last week.

ISPR said various issues came under discussion between the two sides, including the ongoing efforts for reconciliation in Afghanistan, measures needed to check the rise of the militant Islamic State (IS) group and terrorists benefiting from a porous Pak-Afghan border “to indulge in terrorism, smuggling and drug trafficking”.

Gen Bajwa stressed that peace and development were crucial for countries to grow as a region, and not individually.

The army chief said that the recently concluded Afghanistan Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Stability (APAPPS) is expected to lead to more cooperation and coordination between the two countries.

While referring to Pakistan’s border fencing measures, Gen Bajwa said the fence is “an obstacle for checking terrorism and not between people of both sides”.

Ghani, who hosted the Pakistani delegation at the presidential palace, thanked Gen Bajwa for his visit and recent security initiatives undertaken for peace and stability, the ISPR reported.

Ghani in his remarks shared the outline of his vision for regional development, efforts to extend the ongoing temporary ceasefire with the Taliban and steps related to creating conditions for reconciliation.

“Both sides agreed that while results of the bilateral initiatives are extremely important, […] even more important is the continuity of the processes to achieve the end state objectives,” said the ISPR statement.

In a conversation with Resolute Support Mission (RSM) Commander Gen John Nicholson, Gen Bajwa said that Pakistan desires that US and Nato forces succeed in ending violence and “leave behind a peaceful and stable Afghanistan”.

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