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Bridging The Gap
After army chief's visit, Afghan president considers trip to Pakistan
  Saturday 07 October, 2017
After army chief\'s visit, Afghan president considers trip to Pakistan

Afghan news agency Khaama Press reported Saturday that Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani is considering a visit to Pakistan in the near future after being extended an invitation by Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa during his recent visit to the country.

Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Omar Zakhilwal had told news outlets that Ghani had been invited to Pakistan during a meeting with Gen Bajwa in Kabul last week. Amb Zakhilwal further added that President Ghani has accepted the invitation by the Pakistani military chief, Khaama said.

However, the agency said it was not yet clear when the visit was scheduled to take place as the Afghan government has not commented on the matter.

Ghani had on Thursday also called on Pakistan to intensify the state-to-state dialogue in a bid to help secure regional peace and stability, Khaama reported.

At a Senior Officials Meeting in Kabul, President Ghani was reported to also have on the Taliban to "join the peace process."

“The successful peace agreement with Hizb-i-Islami should demonstrate to Taliban groups that we have the capacity and the political will to enter and successfully conclude an intra-Afghan dialogue,” Ghani was quoted as saying.

Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had met Ghani in Kabul on Sunday "to discuss matters of regional security and issues of common interest".

The one-on-one meeting, held at the Afghan presidential palace, was followed by delegation-level talks, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) had said in a statement on Monday.

During the Kabul meetings, issues related to a long-term peace, cooperation against common threats, coordination between respective counterterrorism campaigns to restrict space for non-state actors, intelligence sharing, trade and commerce, and people-to-people contacts also came under discussion.

Gen Bajwa had offered Pakistan’s complete support to Afghanistan in achieving shared interests in the war against terrorism, including training and capacity building of the Afghan security forces.

“Peace and stability are for the benefit of both Pakistan and Afghanistan and could lift the people in both countries out of poverty,” Afghanistan’s Tolo News television had quoted Ghani as saying.

The prevailing security environment in the region and the state of bilateral relationship were also discussed during the meeting. Both sides agreed on a framework to ensure peaceful environment conducive to political process.

There was also a consensus on regular and focused dialogue at multiple levels to evolve bilateral process for minimising misunderstanding, managing crisis situations and enhancing cooperation.

Amb Zakhilwal had described the meeting between the two leaders as encouraging. “Candid, positive, respectful, constructive and encouraging meeting in a long time. I’m proud to have played a facilitating role in all this,” he tweeted.

From the Afghan side, the Afghan second vice president, first and second deputy chief executive officers, interior minister, the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan and the Afghan army chief attended the meeting.

Gen Bajwa was accompanied by the foreign secretary, director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence and Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan, among others.

Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1362318/after-army-chiefs-visit-afghan-president-considers-trip-to-pakistan

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