Kabul meeting: ISI chief sees wider cooperation with Afghanistan

Afghan president meets Lt-Gen Rizwan Akhtar two days after receiving Pakistani politicians


Tahir Khan January 12, 2015
Afghan president meets Lt-Gen Rizwan Akhtar two days after receiving Pakistani politicians. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD:


The head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) met Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul on Sunday to discuss ways to boost anti-terror cooperation between the countries.


“The President of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani received Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt-Gen Rizwan Akhtar in his office on Sunday… both sides discussed ways to further strengthen joint efforts against terrorism and extremism,” read an official statement released by the Afghan presidential palace said.

President Ghani and the ISI chief also talked about peace and security in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the region, and other regional matters, the Pashto-language statement added.

It was Lt-Gen Akhtar’s third visit to Afghanistan since he took over as the director general (DG) of ISI in November last year. He first travelled to Kabul right after he assumed the post. He also accompanied army chief Gen Raheel Sharif on his visit to the Afghan capital last month to share some ‘vital intelligence’ with the Afghan authorities pertaining to the grisly attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar.

When contacted, a Pakistani security official declined to comment on the ISI chief’s meeting with Ashraf Ghani. “The Afghan statement is enough. We will not add anything more,” he said when approached by The Express Tribune.

President Ghani met Lt-Gen Akhtar just two days after he received senior Pashtun leaders from Pakistan as part of his consultations with politicians from his neighbouring country. Sources say Ghani has also invited several more Pakistani leaders to visit Kabul.

Security officials from Pakistan and Afghanistan have increased contacts following President Ghani’s inauguration in September last year.

Gen Raheel also met his Afghan counterpart Gen Sher Muhammad Karimi at the Pakistan Army’s headquarters in Rawalpindi last month. Both army chiefs agreed that their commanders would begin meetings immediately.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2015.

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