Pakistan, Afghanistan and the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) signed an agreement on Tuesday to “improve near border coordination”.
According to a Pakistani military statement, the agreement was signed at the 36th meeting of the tripartite coordination held at the Afghan defence ministry in Kabul. Attendees at the meeting included Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Acting Isaf Commander Lt-Gen Nicholas Carter and Afghan Chief of General Staff Gen Sher Muhammad Karimi.
The participants reviewed ongoing military operations in Afghanistan and in the tribal areas of Pakistan, said the statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
The participants also discussed the transition of security from Isaf to the Afghan National Security Forces after the withdrawal of Nato troops in 2014, and measures to gradually enhance the Pak-Afghan bilateral border coordination arrangements till and beyond 2014.
“The three sides agreed to continue cooperation for enduring success, peace and stability on both sides of the border,” according to the statement.
Although details of the new mechanism were not made public, a senior military official told The Express Tribune that Pakistan and Afghanistan would share with each other information about their military activities against militants in the border areas.
Under the border coordination agreement, both sides will inform each other if any of them conduct military operations or any other activity within a radius of four kilometres in their respective border areas, the official added.
The mechanism is believed to have been evolved to avoid any border tensions, including a repeat of the Salala incident, when US warplanes hit a Pakistani military check post, killing at least two dozen soldiers in November last year.
About Gen Kayani’s meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the ISPR said they discussed “matters of mutual interest.” He also threw his support behind the Afghan peace process, the Afghan presidential palace said in a statement.
“Gen Kayani also underscored the need to further step up the peace process in Afghanistan,” said the Pashto-language statement – a copy of which was sent to The Express Tribune.
President Karzai also “welcomed and praised” Pakistan’s decision to release Taliban leaders.
“Gen Kayani described peace and stability in Afghanistan in the interest of Pakistan and insisted that Pakistan supported every effort for peace and security,” the statement added.
Afghan Defence Minister Bismillah Mohammadi accepted an invitation from Gen Kayani to visit Pakistan in the near future.
Taliban dismiss Afghan passports reports
Meanwhile, the Afghan Taliban on Tuesday dismissed as “unfounded and rumours”, media reports that the Afghan government had issued passports to their comrades who were released by Islamabad last week.
“All media reports about issuing passports to the freed Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate [a reference to the Taliban] by the Karzai administration are just rumours and are baseless,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.
“Freed prisoners have neither got passports, nor [have] they tried to get passports,” he said in a statement emailed to The Express Tribune.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 21st, 2012.