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Pakistan, Afghanistan agree on resumption of peace process

KABUL: Pakistan and Afghanistan on Monday agreed to resume the peace process with a mutually agreed quadrilateral framework including China and United States (US).

According to a statement released by Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the two sides agreed towards the joint cause after COAS Raheel Sharif met the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul.

“With a shared responsibility, all stakeholders would support and ensure success of an Afghan-led dialogue and reconciliation process,” read the statement.

The first round of quadrilateral meeting will be scheduled in January to work out a clear and comprehensive road map for a meaningful peace process with a clear demarcation of responsibilities of each stake holders at all stages.

The statement said that both sides agreed that they would pursue peace and reconciliation with Afghanistan’s Taliban groups, who are willing to join the process.

“Elements who would still continue to pursue violence will be dealt, under a mutually worked out framework.” read the media release.

During his meetings with Afghan Chief Executive and President, General Raheel Sharif laid stress upon instituting an effective mechanism for better coordination among the two countries about individuals and tribesman crossing the border.

The COAS and Afghan dignitaries agreed to jointly counter the terrorism threat and vowed not to allow use of their respective soil against each other through active intelligence sharing and Intelligence Based Operations(IBOs).

Emphasizing the need to improve bilateral relations it was decided to establish a hot line contact between the DGMOs of both countries.

Later, the COAS met General John Campbell, Commander Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and visited Bagram Air Base where he was briefed on the capabilities of Resolute Support Mission and special operations.

General Raheel Sharif arrived in Kabul on a day-long visit for deliberations on resumption of the Afghan reconciliation process and instituting a border management mechanism. He had last visited Kabul along with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in May this year.

Their visit had then helped address Afghan misgivings, which had emerged after the start of Taliban’s spring offensive and the engagement led to the start of reconciliation process some seven weeks later, on July 7 in Murree.

The process, despite the initial positive outlook, could not survive and collapsed days before the second round of talks planned for July 31 with the disclosure that Taliban chief Mullah Omar had died in April 2013.

The suspension of the dialogue, succession dispute within the Taliban and the accompanying increase in militant violence in Afghanistan further frayed the Pak-Afghan relationship.

Gen Sharif’s Sunday visit was initially planned for earlier this month – before the Dec 9 Heart of Asia ministerial meeting in Islamabad – but got delayed because of bilateral tensions.

The two countries were also without any mechanism on border management since a tripartite commission, involving Pakistan, Afghanistan and coalition forces, completed its mandate following the end of International Security Assistance Force’s Afghan mission in December 2014.

Border clashes between Pakistan and Afghan security forces had increased in the absence of the coordination mechanism. According to a defence official, 132 violations were committed by the Afghan security forces on the Pak-Afghan border this year in which 18 Pakistani soldiers lost their lives.

 






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