Islamabad, Kabul agree to work on reconciliation in Afghanistan

Islamabad: Senior Pakistani and Afghan military and security officials have agreed to work on a roadmap for reconciliation in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser (NSA) Haneef Atmar led a high-level delegation for talks with Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in Rawalpindi late Sunday. During talks, both sides vowed to “undertake measures that would assist them in reduction of violence at the hands of terrorists,” Xinhua news agency reported citing a statement by the Pakistani Army’s media wing Inter-Services Public Relations.

The talks were held days after both countries agreed to operationalise the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS), which provides a framework to deepen interaction in all spheres of bilateral engagements.

“Both sides chalked out outline plans for operationalising APAPPS and shared ideas towards Afghan reconciliation as the roadmap for lasting peace,” the statement said.

Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed to fast track the formulation of working groups, especially on bilateral security cooperation and to undertake measures that would assist both sides in reduction of violence at the hands of terrorists, it said.

General Bajwa said that both Pakistan and Afghanistan suffered heavily due to prolonged conflict and must together explore ways to usher in peace in the region by defeating the common enemy.

“We must begin with the trust that neither covets an inch of the others territory nor is letting its land being used against the other,” he said, adding that suspicions will only fuel negativity and facilitate detractors.

The Afghan delegation also extended an invitation on behalf of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to General Bajwa for visiting Kabul which he accepted.

The Afghan side was appreciative of Pakistan’s initiative in preparation of the framework document to improve cooperation and coordination between the two countries on a host of confidence building and substantive measures.

Afghan NSA Atmar said that Afghanistan had “very positive expectations” from Pakistan and with mutual help “we can allay each other’s concerns and apply our energies to bring about enduring peace and stability”.