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Kabul, Islamabad discuss tense ties

AT News Report-KABUL: Amid strained relations of Kabul and Islamabad, President Ashraf Ghani met with Pakistan Premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in the Presidential Palace on Friday and confided about violations along the Durand Line. Abbasi’s visit comes upon an official invitation extended by Ghani for a face-to-face dialogue to have differences overcome and ideas converged for forging peace.

Ghani stressed that the current circumstances benefitted neither Afghanistan nor Pakistan, suggesting grievances be resolved through diplomacy and dialogue. A statement issued by the Presidential Palace said the two sides discussed relations between the two countries, fight against terrorism, regional connection, Afghan-led peace talks, violations along the Durand Line, return of Afghan refugees, construction of railroad projects, prisoners exchange and Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS), Presidential Palace said in a statement.

The statement said the two sides discussed Pakistan’s connection to the Central Asia, energy transition, Quetta-Kandahar-Herat and Peshawar-Jalalabad railroad projects and construction of Peshawar-Jalalabad highway. In this meeting, the two sides agreed that delegations of Afghanistan and Pakistan will prepare a timeline and mechanism for return of Afghan refugees to the country.

Abbasi meanwhile said he welcomes the Afghan government’s peace offer to the Taliban, the Presidential Palace. He said an Afghan-led peace process is the only way to stability in the country. Pakistan Prime Minister said he and his team are ready for cooperation in this respect.Abbasi invited President Ghani for an official visit to Pakistan.

Abbasi’s trip to Kabul comes after Pakistan has been under pressure from Afghan government and Washington to stop offering safe havens to insurgents blamed for attacks in Afghanistan, a charge Islamabad denies.Kabul and Islamabad regularly make accusations of harboring the other country’s militants and the harsh language has underscored the strains between them.

On Thursday, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement rejecting a claim made by the Afghan government of Islamabad having violated the airspace of Afghanistan with Pakistani Air Force raids inside Afghan territory during counter-terrorism operations earlier in the week.Local officials said a number of residents of Kunar province, in the east of Afghanistan, were wounded in Pakistani’s forces’ air and ground operations. The Pakistani government accuses Kabul of failing to take action against militant groups who continue to attack Pakistan from their sanctuaries across the Durand Line in Afghanistan.

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