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COAS urge Afghanistan to join hands to beat the common enemy

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa acknowledged that Pakistan and Afghanistan have suffered heavily due to prolonged conflict and must together explore ways to usher peace in the region by defeating the common enemy.

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News Analysis |

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa acknowledged that Pakistan and Afghanistan have suffered heavily due to prolonged conflict and must together explore ways to usher peace in the region by defeating the common enemy.

Afghan delegation led by Mr. Mohammad Hanif Atmar, National Security Adviser (NSA) Afghanistan called upon, COAS for a high-level bilateral meeting, on Sunday.

COAS said that “we must begin with the trust that neither covets an inch of the other’s territory nor is letting its land being used against the other. Suspicions will only fuel negativity and facilitate detractors.”

Both the countries focused on the operationalization of recently concluded Afghan Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Stability (APAPPS).

COAS said that “we must begin with the trust that neither covets an inch of the other’s territory nor is letting its land being used against the other. Suspicions will only fuel negativity and facilitate detractors.”

Read more: Pak-Afghan relations improving as both countries review previous no go areas

The Afghan delegation was comprised of Mr. Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, Head of NDS, Mr. Wais Ahmad Barmak, Interior Minister of Afghanistan, Mr. Omar Zakhilwal, Ambassador of Afghanistan to Pakistan and other Afghan officials.

Pakistan’s government was represented by Ms. Tehmina Janjua, Foreign Secretary.

The Afghan officials appreciated Pakistan’s initiative to prepare the framework document to improve cooperation and coordination between the two brotherly countries on a host of confidence-building and substantive measures.

Moreover, the two sides agreed to fast-track the formulation of working groups, especially on bilateral security cooperation and to undertake measures that would assist both sides in the reduction of violence at the hands of terrorists.

Commenting on the discussions, Afghanistan NSA Mr. Mohammad Hanif Atmar said that “Afghanistan has very positive expectations from Pakistan and with mutual help, we can allay each other’s concerns and apply our energies to bring about enduring peace and stability.”

The peace prosperity and stability of the two countries are inter-linked. If the political will is shown along with on-ground actions, the trust deficit between the two nations can be reduced.

Both sides shared ideas towards Afghan reconciliation as the roadmap for lasting peace. The plans were chalked out to operationalize APAPPS. Afghan delegation also extended an invitation on behalf of Afghan President to COAS for visiting Kabul, which he gladly accepted.

Abbasi’s Visit

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had extended the invitation to Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani to visit Pakistan and continue dialogue during his visit on April 06. Both sides have been discussing a wide range of issues including counter-terrorism, the return of Afghan refugees, exchange of civilian prisoners, peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, regional connectivity and bilateral trade.

During his visit, PM Abbasi also announced a gift of 40 thousand tons of wheat for the Afghan people as a goodwill gesture. Pakistan also waved off the additional regulatory duty on Afghan export to encourage exports to Pakistan which can positively affect the suppressed economy of the country.

Read more: Aid cuts by US to hurt Pak-Afghan border monitoring

Trust Deficit and Interlinked Peace & Prosperity

The peace prosperity and stability of the two countries are inter-linked. If the political will is shown along with on-ground actions, the trust deficit between the two nations can be reduced. The everlasting peace can bring prosperity to this war-torn region. But, the blame game has marred the peace efforts between the on-off friends.

Afghanistan often blames Pakistan for the not doing enough to prevent the targeted cross-border raids. Similarly, Pakistan blames Afghanistan for allowing the elements within its territory to orchestrate brutal terrorist attacks in Pakistan. Foreign powers purposely jeopardize peace and stability of the region by waging proxy wars against Pakistan through Afghanistan. Because stable Pakistan poses a major threat to the nations which don’t want China to economically influence the world.

The US blames Pakistan for nurturing nurseries of terrorism in tribal areas, which when required, conduct targeted operations in Afghanistan.  The US always stresses that Pakistan must play a role in achieving a peaceful resolution in Afghanistan. After the historic FATA-KP merger, Afghanistan announced rejection of the merger which prompted Pakistan foreign office to condemn the statement.

Read more: Pak-Afghan blame game: who reaps the benefits?

Similarly, Pakistan’s politicians having strong connections with Afghanistan urged the section of the local population to strongly oppose the move and demand a referendum on this which Pakistani government had denied. Moreover, cross-border raids are common. Recently, Afghan border forces along with the local tribesmen attacked Pakistan’s fencing project and martyred five FC soldiers.

Afghanistan government doesn’t recognize the border drawn up under the British Raj and believes that fencing project, FATA-KP merger will only divide the families into both sides of the border.

Pakistani security forces reached a conclusion that Afghan soil was used for most of the terrorist-related incidents which took place in Pakistan. Simultaneously, on many occasions, the Afghan government and US officials have also blamed militant incursions from KP’s tribal regions. Unless both countries do not overcome the trust deficit, everlasting peace will remain a distant dream.


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