ISLAMABAD: Amid exchange of accusations, Pakistan and Afghanistan’s militaries reiterated on Thursday to “build further trust, continue to talk under all circumstances and evolve a robust and effective bilateral border coordination mechanism” against terrorism.
The development that followed the arrival of top Afghan security delegation to Pakistan, surfaced on the heels of Islamabad’s demand to Kabul to either ‘extradite or eliminate’ Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Fazlullah sheltering in Afghanistan in the backdrop of Pakistan’s ongoing drive against the terrorists in North Waziristan Agency (NWA).
A top Afghan security delegation led by Director General Military Operations (DG MO) Major General Afzal Aman and comprising of officials of National Security Council (NSC), Afghan National Army and National Directorate of Security arrived on a day-long visit on Thursday to hold meetings with their Pakistani counterparts led by Pakistan’s DG MO Maj-Gen Aamir Riaz Rana at the General Headquarters (GHQ). The issue of terror sanctuaries in Kunar and Nuristan provinces of Afghanistan, attacks on Pakistani border villages and posts and cross border-shelling from Pakistan in Afghan areas came under discussion during the meeting.
“The Afghan delegation was told that Pakistan only fires back in self defence when Pakistani border posts are physically attacked or fired upon by terrorists from Afghan territory and no indiscriminate firing is carried out,” Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said. Earlier on Tuesday, top civilian and military officials here briefed the foreign media representatives that Pakistan had asked Afghanistan to extradite or eliminate Fazlullah, who, they said, was taking refuge across the border.
The same day (Tuesday), Islamabad rejected Kabul’s allegation that Pakistan’s military personnel were involved in armed clashes in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. Last month, Afghanistan accused Pakistan of waging helicopter and rocket attacks in its territory whereas Pakistan contended that its forces acted in self defence against terrorists that were waging cross-border attacks from Afghan side of the border. Moreover, outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai also accused Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of having a direct involvement in life attempt on Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah.
A thaw in the looming hostility came last Friday when the two sides came together to identify terrorism as common enemy and reiterated closer cooperation to defeat it following the arrival of Afghan National Security Advisor Dr Rangin Dadfar Spanta to Pakistan, just a couple of days after the exchange of hostile statements involving cross-border security issues. Afghanistan also extended its support to Zarb-e-Azb operation Pakistan Army has launched against the terrorists in NWA.
The Thursday meeting, according to ISPR, was held in a “cordial, congenial and professional atmosphere. Both sides agreed to build further trust, continue to talk under all circumstances and evolve a robust and effective bilateral border coordination mechanism.” A detailed briefing was given on border coordination mechanism, it said. Both sides agreed to hold next meeting for which scheduled is being finalised.
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