Deal in the making: Pakistan Army likely to begin training Afghan forces

Published: January 29, 2013
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Afghan Defence Minister General Bismillah Khan Mohammadi flanked by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, lays a wreath at Yadgar-e-Shuhada at General Headquarters. PHOTO COURTESY: ISPR

Afghan Defence Minister General Bismillah Khan Mohammadi flanked by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, lays a wreath at Yadgar-e-Shuhada at General Headquarters. PHOTO COURTESY: ISPR

ISLAMABAD: 

Islamabad and Kabul are close to signing a deal that will allow the Pakistan Army to train Afghan national security forces, in the latest sign of improving ties between the neighbouring nations.

The progress was made during talks between visiting Afghan Defence Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi and army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on Monday.

Pakistan has long been offering Afghanistan to train its army but, until now, Kabul had shown little interest, largely due to the trust deficit between the two countries.

The talks, led by the Afghan defence minister and the Pakistani army chief, proved to be decisive as the two sides agreed to explore the possibility of  “military training exchanges,” a senior military official disclosed to The Express Tribune.

The official said the Afghan delegation would visit military institutions as part of efforts to assess how the two neighbours could enter into an accord to strengthen military-to-military contacts.

He added that that Pakistan has one of the best military training institutions in the region and this could help Afghan forces, including its officers and soldiers.

A statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) also hinted at progress in talks over military training.

The statement said the two sides discussed matters of professional interest, with particular focus on “enhancing mutual defence cooperation and measures that the Afghan National Army and Pakistan Army intend to initiate for an enduring training relationship.”

Another official said that the visit is “likely to mark a new page in the history of Pak-Afghan relations.”

“It is also of note that General Bismillah is a non-Pashtun, a Tajik, by origin. This vindicates the fact that Pakistan is moving ahead with the vision of a broad-based relationship with Afghanistan,” said the official.

Pakistan is considered crucial for the peace process in Afghanistan because of its historic ties with Afghan insurgents, including the Taliban.

The official said General Kayani told the Afghan defence minister that Pakistan would make all-out efforts for a “peaceful, stable and united Afghanistan”.

Gen Kayani maintained that the release of Taliban detainees was part of Pakistan’s ‘sincere efforts’ to help the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process.

He also assured the Afghan delegation of full support to bring normalcy to the border region, which “should have a direct and positive effect on the stability in Afghanistan so that situation could become ripe for the drawdown of Isaf forces in 2014”.

The two sides also discussed the possibility of converting the existing trilateral border control mechanism into bilateral arrangement once the US-led foreign forces leave the country.

In his remarks, the Afghan defence minister thanked Pakistan for releasing some important Taliban prisoners, which, he said, would help kick-off a broad-based intra-Afghan dialogue.

The Afghan defence minister also called on President Asif Ali Zardari and discussed defence cooperation and the fight against extremism.

President Zardari said Pakistan attached great importance to its ties with Afghanistan and added that the delegation’s visit would help further cement relations.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • JSM
    Jan 29, 2013 - 5:28PM

    How many Afghan cadets will come to PMA?

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  • Jan 30, 2013 - 9:08AM

    A very positive development.

    On a side note, Gen Kayani’s uniform looks too loose, did he borrow it from someone else?

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  • Nooristani V
    Jan 30, 2013 - 9:10AM

    What a joke! Training the Taliban as well as the Afghan Army. Considering that Pakistan is at its lowest ebb, it would make sense to have a pacifist ideology and start reforming.However, Pakistan does not seem to have learnt its lesson. This move will only irk the Afghan Taliban and their guns may soon start pointing towards their old bosses. Somehow, the establishment always seems intent in fishing in troubled waters….

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  • Jan 30, 2013 - 9:18AM

    If these positive developments in the Pak-Afghan imbroglio of ‘trust deficit,’ is the reason why India created problems on the LOC, then our age-old worry on the eastern border holds true.

    The USA has DISSED India and latched on to Pakistan only to leave the war its troops and create problems for the region. Just pray this does not become a ‘cockpit’ for Russia, China, India, Iran and Pakistan (with its paindoo politicians). Salams for 2013

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  • Pakistani Ostrich
    Jan 30, 2013 - 10:27AM

    What is pak army going to teach the afghan army? How to fortify GHQs to hide from the taliban attacks? It won’t be long before one sees DHAs in afghnistan!

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  • gp65 .
    Jan 30, 2013 - 12:38PM

    “He added that that Pakistan has one of the best military training institutions in the region and this could help Afghan forces, including its officers and soldiers.”

    Best compared to? India against whom you lost all wars or China your higher deeper friend or Iran who actually downed a drone?

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  • Jan 30, 2013 - 1:47PM

    According to a,media report our defence minister expresse firm desire regarding the stable peace in Afghanistan and the region
    We are still in battle field,war on terror and continueously fighting
    We want to see a stable and peace full and stable Afghanistan because a stable and peaceful neighboure is favourable to Pakistan.
    The defence minister expressed his views during the meeting held in the office

    No doubt,
    Pakistan is sincer regarding the stability in Afghanistan
    Supporting the peace process released Taliban leaders involved in henious crimes committed on Pakistan’s territory.

    Now a notable fact has come to surface some betterment come into Afghanistan regarding the peace.
    But on the other hand,
    Pakistan is providing assistant in paving the way for American and Nato troops’repatriation from Afghanistan expected in 2013, but American behave become non cooperative to some extend.
    A former presidential are trying to settle the settle and hope would success in his mission.

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  • Sandip
    Jan 30, 2013 - 3:08PM

    Afghan government should be vary of any such ties with the Pakistan Army. And the concern stems from the fact that the Pakistan Army is one with a dictatorial mindset. It would be inadvisable, for a nation so early in its formative stages of setting up a democratic government, to allow its military to interact with a military with such a history of coups. Mindsets and ideas will flow and hence such training interactions might not be in the best interest of democracy in Afghanistan.

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  • Jan 30, 2013 - 4:06PM

    According to the press report,Afghanistan defence minister visited Pakistan and called on Mr.Navee Qammer defence minister in his office.

    Subsequently talking to the media men Pakistani minister expressed some delightful desire about Afghanistan,by saying that,
    we have faced war on terroris and continueously fighting.
    We intend to see a peaceful and stable Afghanistan,a strong neighbor muslim state Afghanistan is most favorable to Pakistan.
    Pakistan always cooprative in this matter,and considering mututal interest freed Taliban leaders involved henious crime committed on Pakistani land.
    No doubt, Pakistan has sincere ragarding the peace and stability in Afghanistan.
    Result in some betterment has appeared in region with reference to the American wirgdrawal from Afghanistan expected in 2013.

    But on the other hand,
    American behave is not understand able,
    United states have reservation on the dealing with Iran,A former presidential candidate have started reconciliation mission bettween the two country hope would be successful

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  • Alam
    Jan 31, 2013 - 3:36PM

    Afghans would never sign such agreements with Pakistan, even if Pakistan has been trying to persuade Afghan authorities on signing such deals but Afghans have always opposed. Afghans always claim that taliban insurgents have safe heavens in Pakistan and are supported by Pakistan, and till Pakistan does not stop supporting Taliban, Afghanistan would never have such deal with Pakistant, and yesterday the spokesperson of Afghan MOD (Ministery of Defence) rejected such reports and called that is the propaganda of Pakistani media.

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