‘Progress’ on Af-Pak peace front

In what was seen as ‘progress’ on the bilateral front between Afghanistan and Pakistan during Pakistani NSA’s visit to Kabul, Islamabad has conveyed an important message that ‘an isolated Pakistan would be of no use to Afghanistan’s peace process’.

Lt. Gen. Retd. Nasir Khan Janujua, Pakistan’s National Security Adviser, called upon both Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah during his all-important visit to neighbouring Afghanistan. During his visit, Janjua also held “elaborate and successful meetings” with his counterpart Haneef Atmar, Minister of Defense and NDS Chief.

“Isolated, blamed and coerced Pakistan is of lesser use to Afghanistan,” Janujua told the Afghan leadership on Saturday during his day-long visit to the country. It is believed that Janjua was referring to Washington’s hard-line stance against Pakistan under President Trump, who has asked Islamabad to ‘do-more’ against alleged terrorist sanctuaries in the tribal areas.

These US demands were renewed during Pakistani PM Abbasi’s visit to the US, where he met Vice President Mike Pence in an ‘unscheduled’ meeting in Washington on Friday.

“The Vice President stated that US efforts to eliminate terrorist groups who threaten US security and the stability of the region will continue and noted that Pakistan could and should work closer with the US,” the White House statement said after Pence-Abbasi meeting.

The Afghan President has also recently changed his position both on peace talks with the Taliban as well as Pakistan. Where he called for unconditional talks with the militant group last month, Ghani, on Saturday, also invited Pakistani PM for a detailed and comprehensive one-on-one meeting to discuss and initiate a comprehensive dialogue.

Ghani’s invitation was part of his pledge to resume Kabul’s high-level engagements with Islamabad to repair bilateral security, political and economic cooperation. He made this pledge in a speech during the Kabul Process meeting of more than 25 countries and international organisations earlier this year.

With security situation getting worse by the day in Afghanistan, positive gestures towards Pakistan coming out of Kabul would only help improve cooperation against terror and militancy in the region.

© Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) and Afghan Studies Center (ASC), Islamabad.

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