Imran promises Ghani help ‘within capacity’ to curb Afghan election violence

Pakistani PM, Afghanistan president discuss peace process and upcoming elections in phone call

News Desk September 19, 2019
File photos of PM Imran Khan [L] and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani [R].

Prime Minister Imran Khan has promised Pakistan’s help "within its capacity" to curb violence during and in the build-up to this month's elections in Afghanistan.

In a phone conversation late on Wednesday night, PM Imran and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani discussed the Afghan peace process and upcoming elections in the violence-ridden country.

The premier also offered his condolences over the loss of lives in recent terrorist attacks across Afghanistan.

“As there’s precedence of Pakistan’s help in the reduction of violence during past elections,” wrote Ghani in a tweet. “I ask Pakistan to help mitigate violence in the next one.”

He added that the Pakistani prime minister had promised help “within their capacity”.

The phone call between the regional leaders came before PM Imran's two-day visit to Saudi Arabia, for which he left on Thursday morning.

He will meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to discuss bilateral and international issues, before heading to the United States for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

PM Imran has previously expressed disappointment at United States President Donald Trump’s abrupt cancellation of talks with the Taliban, aimed at withdrawing US troops and opening the way to an end to 18 years of war in Afghanistan.

On Wednesday, the premier said he would raise the matter when he meets Trump and would urge him to revive the negotiations process with the Taliban. “It will be a big tragedy if the talks don’t make headway,” he said. “We will put our best efforts that these talks resume again.”

The latest wave of violence comes after the Taliban vowed that Trump's decision would lead to further American deaths.

In response, a senior US general said that the US military was likely to accelerate the pace of its operations in Afghanistan to counter an increase in Taliban attacks.

Security officials said the scale of the fighting in northern Afghanistan reflected both the expected intensification of combat following the collapse of peace efforts as well as the last push before winter weather restricts fighting in the mountains.

(With additional input from Reuters.)


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