A trilateral meeting between the military commanders of Pakistan, International Security Assistance Force and Afghanistan in Rawalpindi on Saturday decided to continue working on bringing peace in war-torn Afghanistan.
Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Commander International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), General Joseph Dunford and Chief of General Staff Afghan National Army, General Sher Mohammad Karimi also discussed matters relating to the Pak-Afghan border.
But official sources told The Express Tribune that the important matter regarding this trilateral meeting was the attendance of General Karimi, who had refused to attend the last trilateral meeting held in Rawalpindi on April 1 despite being invited.
According to a statement from the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the three generals discussed matters of mutual interest with particular emphasis on coordination measures along the porous border and the Standard Operating Procedure put in place to improve border control.
Sources said General Karimi brought up the issue of the exchange of prisoners with General Kayani in the meeting, to which Kayani replied that all issues should be taken up and resolved gradually and not in haste.
General Kayani said that the new government in Pakistan had spelled out clear foreign policy guidelines that indicated Pakistan would always support an Afghan led and owned peace process there.
According to sources, he added that following those guidelines, matters would be settled between the neighbors and hoped there would be no mistrust and misunderstanding prevailing in the future.
Elaborating on the exchange of prisoners, the Pakistani COAS said that after Taliban spokesman Abdul Latif Hakimi was captured by Pakistani officials and later handed over to Afghanistan in a swap, the Afghan authorities eventually freed him. This, he said, had made the situation difficult for Pakistani security officials. He said there was a need to establish a strong mechanism that would not allow such mistakes to occur in the future.
Nawaz’s visit to Kabul
According to sources in the Afghan Embassy, the Afghan envoy to Islamabad Umer Daudzai has flown to Kabul to make arrangements for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Afghanistan.
The prime minister’s office has also unofficially confirmed that he might undertake his first visit to Saudi Arabia for Umrah and then to Afghanistan within this month.
The fractious relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan’s civil and military leadership seems to have improved after Afghan President Hamid Karzai officially felicitated and invited Nawaz to visit Afghanistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 9th, 2013.