ISLAMABAD: Top military commanders from Pakistan and Russia discussed here the post-2014 scenario in Afghanistan on Monday, as the two sides are wary of US roadmap to bring long-term stability to the war-torn country.
The meeting between army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and his Russian counterpart Col General Vladimir V Chirkin at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi came in the backdrop of uncertainty over the future of Afghanistan.
Although both Pakistan and Russia had remained bitter cold war rivals during the former Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, relations between the two countries have shown significant improvement in recent years.
If Afghanistan was the source of tensions between the two countries in the 1980s, it has now become the point of convergence.
Official sources familiar with the meeting of top generals told The Express Tribune that Islamabad and Moscow had unanimity of views on the future of Afghanistan.
According to sources, General Kayani and General Chirkin agreed that the US should come up with a clear roadmap for its pullout plan from Afghanistan.
Both Pakistan and Russia appear not to be in favour of the stationing of US forces in Afghanistan on a permanent basis.
“Their presence can be a source of confrontation and friction in the region,” said a diplomatic source.
According to the source, Russia fears that Afghanistan may slip into the civil war in the absence of a clear roadmap for peace and stability.
The peace process, meant to bring the Afghan Taliban on the negotiating table, is currently deadlocked over differences between the insurgent group and the government of President Hamid Karzai.
A statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) confirmed that the two generals discussed the ‘overall security situation in the region’.
“The two discussed matters of mutual interest with emphasis on improving defence cooperation between Russia and Pakistan especially army-to-army relations,” it added.
General Chirkin also attended a wreath laying ceremony at ‘Shuhada Monument’ and was presented a guard of honour by a smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Army. The Russian general also called on Chairman Joint Chiefs of Saff General Khalid Shameem Wynne.
The visit of Russian Army Chief is part of efforts by the two countries to redefine their relations in view of the new regional and global challenges.
Last year, General Kayani undertook a historic trip to Moscow marking the beginning of new phase in their otherwise troubled ties.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2013.