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Afghan President, Pakistan Army Chief Discuss Cooperation In Kabul

RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal October 01, 2017

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has met with Pakistan's army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa in Kabul as part of the Pakistani general's visit aimed at repairing the strained ties between the neighboring states.

"Both sides discussed regional security, bilateral relations, the fight against terrorism, trade, and transit," the Afghan presidential office said on October 1.

A statement quoted Ghani as calling for practical steps toward creating an atmosphere of trust between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Bilateral relations have long been tense, with the sides accusing each other of housing terrorist groups that launch attacks on the neighboring country.

Ahead of Bajwa's first visit to Afghanistan since he took up the post nearly a year ago, the Pakistani military said he would also meet with Afghanistan's military leadership.

The visit comes after the White House recently unveiled a strategy to try to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan after nearly 16 years of war.

An important component of the new strategy is a threat to withdraw aid and other support for Pakistan if the country does not shut down what U.S. officials said are Afghan Taliban "safe havens" on its territory.

Islamabad has denied that it is offering "safe havens" to extremist groups, with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi warning that Pakistan was "not prepared to be anyone's scapegoat."

In his address before the UN General Assembly on September 20, Abbasi said, "Taliban 'safe havens' are located not in Pakistan, but in the large tracts of territory controlled by the Taliban in Afghanistan."

Abassi also said Islamabad was ready to work with Kabul to "end all cross-border attacks," and that it will continue pursuing its domestic war against terrorists.

With reporting by AP and dpa

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/ghani-pakistan-army -chief-discuss-cooperation/28767492.html

Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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