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Saturday, April 1, 2023

COAS Bajwa meets Qatar civil-military leadership to strengthen ties

General Bajwa appreciated Qatar's role in Afghan Peace Process. Pakistan's civil and military leadership are establishing strong ties with many countries at the same time.

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Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa Wednesday appreciated the role of Qatar in ‘Afghan Peace Process’.

The army chief who was on a two-day official visit to Qatar called on Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs Doctor Khalid Bin Mohammed Al Attiyah and Chief of Staff Qatar Armed Forces Lieutenant General (Pilot) Ghanim Bin Shaheen Al-Ghanim, said an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) news release.

During the meetings, matters of mutual interest, defence and security cooperation and regional/ geo-political environment were discussed.

The COAS said both the countries shared great history of cordial relations and deep spirit of brotherhood, which were being transformed into an enduring partnership.

The dignitaries also appreciated Pakistan’s continuous efforts for peace and stability in the region and pledged to keep working for better relations between the two brotherly countries.

Both sides underscored the importance of further enhancing cooperation in all fields.

US approaches Qatar for base for Afghan security

Security officials under NATO command have approached Qatar to secure a base that can be used to train Afghan special forces as part of a strategic commitment after foreign forces withdraw from Afghanistan, three senior Western officials said.

After two decades of war, forces from 36 countries involved in NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan are set to pull out of the country in coordination with a U.S. troop withdrawal by Sept. 11.

Read more: No peace in sight for Afghanistan?

“We are holding talks to earmark a base in Qatar to create an exclusive training ground for senior members of the Afghan forces,” said a senior Western security official in Kabul.

The official, whose country is part of the U.S.-led NATO alliance in Afghanistan, requested anonymity as he was not authorised to speak with journalists.

An integral part of Resolute Support has been to train and equip Afghan security forces fighting the Islamist Taliban, which was ousted from power in 2001 and has since waged an insurgency.

“We have made an offer but it is for authorities in Qatar to decide if they are comfortable with NATO using their territory as a training ground,” said a second security source based in Washington DC.

Read more: Next set of Afghan peace talks to take place in Qatar next year

A third source, a diplomat based in Kabul, said bringing “Afghan special force members to Qatar for about four to six weeks of rigorous training” was under discussion.

Qatar’s government and NATO’s communications office did not respond to questions about the proposal to use the Gulf state as a base for training Afghan forces. The Afghan government also did not respond to a request for comment.

APP with additional input by GVS News Desk