High level security officials from Afghanistan and Pakistan held a meeting in Islamabad and agreed to resume efforts for peace negotiations in Afghanistan and to speed up the process of implementing the joint action plan for peace, officials said on Monday.
This comes a day after a high-level Afghan security delegation led by National Security Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar arrived in Pakistan where they held discussions with Pakistani officials on a number of key issues pertaining to Afghanistan’s security, the war on terrorism, mutual cooperation and regional issues.
According to officials at the National Security Council (NSC) the two countries also agreed to take specific steps regarding the implementation of the joint action plan for peace and for reducing the scale of threats.
“High level meetings were held with Pakistan’s national security advisor, army chief, the leadership of Pakistan security institutions, deputy minister of foreign affairs, head of operations, the economic advisor of Pakistan’s prime minister and other high level officials, the meetings were held in a cordial and conducive atmosphere,” the NSC said in a statement on Monday.
Meanwhile the Pakistan army said in a statement that military officials from the two countries have agreed to the resumption of peace talks.
“Pakistan and Afghanistan have expressed the resolve to work together to strengthen bilateral relations and improve the security situation in the region. This understanding was reached during a meeting between a high-level Afghan delegation and National Security Advisor Nasser Khan Janjua,” the Pakistani government said in a statement following the meeting.
“Before this similar trips had taken place, unfortunately they left no results and the situation in the country worsened,” said MP Akbar Stanekzai.
“It was decided to form more committees within the framework of this to conduct more discussions on the issue,” said the interior ministry’s spokesman Najib Danish.
“On the security front, the two sides agreed to take all necessary measures relating to the implementation of 66 items of commitments listed in the Joint Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity which forms the core component of a comprehensive framework for bilateral cooperation,” said the NSA’s office.
Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed to draw up a plan in April following Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s trip to Kabul where he held talks with Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani. The two leaders agreed to seven key principles to finalize the action plan.
The two leaders agreed to the following:
* Pakistan to support the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process,
* The two countries agree to undertake effective action against fugitives and irreconcilable elements posing security threats to either of the two countries,
* Both countries commit to denying the use of their respective territories by any country, network, group or individuals for anti-state activities against either country,
* To put in place a joint supervision, coordination and confirmation mechanism through Liaison Officers (LOs) for the realization of the agreed actions.
* The two countries commit to avoid territorial and aerial violations of each other’s territory,
* The two countries agree to avoid public blame games and instead use APAPPS cooperation mechanisms to respond to mutual issues of contention and concerns, and
* Establish Working Groups and necessary cooperation mechanisms as per APAPPS for full implementation of the APAPPS and the above, mutually reinforcing principles.
According to office of National security advisor, both parties had unanimous views regarding the importance of peace for both countries.
The two sides also agreed to take joint action against the elements who continue to defy peace.
Office of national security advisor added that Pakistan’s army chief general Qamar Jawed Bajwa will pay an official visit to Kabul in the next few days at the invitation of President Ashraf Ghani.
Afghan officials have constantly accused Pakistan of harboring Taliban leaders providing sanctuaries to them to operate against Afghanistan.