Top military commanders from Pakistan, Afghanistan and the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) will be joining their heads today (Sunday) to work on a foolproof mechanism to enhance coordination at the Durand Line in order to avoid a repeat of the deadly Salala strikes.
It will be the first meeting of the Tripartite Commission since the November 2011 Nato air raid on Pakistani border posts in Mohmand Agency in which two dozen troops were killed.
The huddle in Rawalpindi will be attended by Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Afghan military chief Gen Sher Muhammad Karimi and Nato/Isaf commander Gen John Allen.
Gen Kayani and Gen Allen met in Rawalpindi on Saturday to set the meeting’s agenda. “Talks focused on operations in border areas and coordination mechanisms to avoid untoward incident,” said a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
However, officials told The Express Tribune that the possibility of reopening Nato supply routes also came under discussion. The vital supply routes for thousands of foreign troops stationed in Afghanistan were plugged following the deadly Nato air strike.
Sunday’s meeting is taking place two days after Nato Secretary General Andres Fogh Rasmussen hinted that Pakistan could miss out on the key Chicago summit later this month, if it did not reopen the Nato supply lines.
However, Islamabad has sought to play down the statement – hinting that an invitation for the Chicago summit might come in the next few days. Last month, parliament had spelt out tough conditions for the government to allow Nato forces to transit their supplies through Pakistan.
The scheduled meeting of the tripartite commission gives an indication that tensions between Pakistan and the US are easing and there seems to be a tacit understanding between both countries to resume supplies. An announcement, to this effect, is likely ahead of the Chicago summit scheduled to be held on May 21-22. The issue would top the agenda when the Defence Committee of the Cabinet, meets next month.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2012.