Afghanistan cements security ties with Pakistan

Pakistan and Afghanistan on Saturday decided to intensify military and intelligence-level cooperation as their Joint Commission for Reconciliation and Peace met here for the first time, even as attacks on Pakistani border posts have created a new irritant in bilateral relations.

Promising to take action if the attacks on security posts in Dir and Bajaur had emanated from Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai told journalists: “If those attacks have come from our side, it is our duty to stop them just as it is Pakistan's responsibility to stop attacks inside Afghanistan from Pakistani soil.”

Describing the attacks on Pakistani border posts as a “worrying sign” that provided more reason to work harder to remove radical elements and their sanctuaries from the region, Mr. Karzai said this [terrorism] has “gone beyond tolerance”.

In a related meeting between the Interior Ministers, the two countries decided to set up a joint task force within three weeks to check cross-border infiltration. The attacks on Pakistan's military posts — twice this month and once in April — involved hundreds of terrorists and pitched gun-battles that lasted several hours.

Meanwhile, addressing a joint press conference with Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani this afternoon and President Asif Ali Zardari last night, Mr. Karzai stressed the need to work together to eliminate terrorism. “The brotherly role of Pakistan in defeating terrorism will go a long way in helping Afghanistan build a secure environment,” said Mr. Karzai.

Pledging to work together for development, the two countries signed the Islamabad Declaration on Realising the Common Vision of Shared Development, Prosperity and Peace. At the meeting of the joint commission for reconciliation, they decided that the official-level sub-committee would meet on a monthly basis to work out steps to be taken toward brokering peace in anticipation of the U.S.-led troop withdrawal that begins next month.

About the transition, Mr. Karzai said the protection of Afghan land and its people was the responsibility of Afghanistan. As to whether the U.S. would continue to have a presence in Afghanistan after 2014, he said that would be determined by the nature of the strategic relationship Afghanistan and the U.S. decide to have in future.

With the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement coming into force — a year after its contours were agreed upon — Pakistan is mooting extension of this arrangement through trilateral trade agreements with the Central Asian republics to maximise economic opportunities.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 3:00:58 AM |

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