Pakistan and Afghanistan have decided to develop a ‘robust and effective’ bilateral border-coordination mechanism as part of efforts to deal with cross-border attacks, as well as the movement of terrorists.
The agreement was reached after high-level talks between senior military officials from the two countries held at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi on Thursday.
An eight-member Afghan military delegation led by Director General Military Operation (DGMO) Major General Afzal Aman, with representatives from the Afghan National Security Council (NSC), Afghan military intelligence and Afghan border police, visited the GHQ for this purpose.
The Pakistani side was headed by DGMO Major General Aamer Riaz, said a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
The military’s media wing said the meeting was held in a cordial, congenial and professional atmosphere. A detailed briefing was given to the Afghan delegation on border coordination, it said.
Both sides agreed to build trust, continue to talk under all circumstances and develop a robust and effective bilateral border-coordination mechanism.
“The issue of terrorists’ sanctuaries in Kunar and Nuristan province of Afghanistan and attacks from those sanctuaries on a Pakistani border village and posts came under discussion,” the statement said.
The Afghan delegation was told that Pakistan only fires back in self-defence when Pakistani border posts are physically attacked or fired upon by terrorists from Afghan territory. No indiscriminate firing was carried out, they maintained.
Both sides agreed to hold another meeting for which a schedule is being finalized.
The talks between the senior security officials from the two sides took place against the backdrop of Pakistan’s efforts seeking Afghanistan’s help in fighting terrorism.
The two countries agreed to arrange a meeting of military officials following last week’s visit by Afghan National Security Adviser Dr Rangin Dadfar Spanta where the two neighbours pledged to eliminate all terrorists without any discrimination.
Pakistan is seeking Afghanistan’s support to deal with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which has safe havens in Kunar and Nuristan provinces. Islamabad has already informed Kabul that its ongoing operation in North Waziristan Agency would not spare any group, including the Haqqani network.
In return for Pakistan’s across-the-board operation, Islamabad expects Kabul to dismantle TTP sanctuaries in Afghanistan.
A senior military official pointed out that it was a rare opportunity for the two sides to cooperate with each other in eradicating terrorism. “The ball is in Afghanistan’s court,” the official said, requesting anonymity.
He said Pakistani authorities provided evidence of apparent support being given to TTP chief Mullah Fazlullah by Afghan intelligence agencies.
However, despite repeated demands, Afghanistan has yet to give any firm assurance whether it would initiate any action against TTP sanctuaries on its soil, officials added.
7 bodies of ‘militants’ found in NWA
Seven bodies of suspected militants were found in Darpa Khel area of Mirali tehsil of North Waziristan in the ongoing Zarb-e-Azb operation. Security forces advanced from Mirali and Miramshah bazaars towards the outskirts and destroyed three hideouts of militants in the Mirali, informed an official of the security forces.
The official said that one of the destroyed hideouts belonged to foreign militants.
Separately, in Charsadda, law-enforcement agencies arrested five suspected militants, including a woman, from the Tangi area on Wednesday night. A huge cache of explosives and other heavy weapons were also seized.
The Tangi area in Charsadda has a joint border with Mohmand and Malakand agencies.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2014.
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