Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will send a special envoy to Kabul to open negotiations with Afghan officials on Islamabad’s request for greater security along the border between the two countries during Operation Zarb-e-Azb.
Afghan officials and Pakistan’s foreign office confirmed that the PM spoke with President Hamid Karzai over the telephone late Monday and received assurance that Kabul would extend full cooperation to ensure that militants do not enter Afghanistan.
Foreign Office spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said the PM asked Karzai to help stop the flow. “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called Hamid Karzai on Monday night to request the closure of the Afghan border to avoid the exit of militants to Afghanistan from Pakistan during the military offensive,” she told AFP. “The Pakistani prime minister informed the Afghan president about the military operation against terrorists and the Taliban in North Waziristan and sought Afghanistan’s help,” Karzai’s office said.
“On his part, President Karzai said his government will extend full cooperation unless all sanctuaries of terrorists on the other side of the border are eliminated,” a statement posted on the Afghan presidential palace’s website said.
“President Karzai emphasised that civilians should not be harmed during the military operation,” the statement added. Karzai’s office quoted Nawaz Sharif as saying that he agreed that the general public must be protected during the offensive.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry and the PM’s office have not issued any formal statement on the conversation. However, state-run radio reported that the PM discussed the regional security situation with Karzai during the military operation in North Waziristan.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2014.
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