KABUL: Pakistan army chief met President Ashraf Ghani on Monday, at a time of heightened uncertainty for the region as violence rises while the United States withdraws troops.
Pakistan is regarded as a key player in the Afghan peace process. In the past Islamabad has been accused of harbouring the insurgent Taliban but in recent years Washington and other Western powers have acknowledged its efforts to push the militant group to take part in peace talks.
On agenda are bilateral security and defence cooperation, including border management, border fencing and the need to stop cross border attacks. Furthermore, the Afghan authorities emphasised on Pakistan to play its role in the Afghan peace process and ensure ceasefire, by exercising the leverage it has over the Taliban.
The meeting comes in the backdrop of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, with the agenda highlighting the need for increased cooperation post-US withdrawal. Significantly the meeting marks the second instance of the presence of UK officials in an Afghan meeting with regional stakeholders. Ambassador Sadiq, Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, also visited Kabul two weeks ago.
The US pullout has already begun; with the superpower having 2500 troops and about 1500 contractors, all of whom will be out of Afghanistan by 11th Sept.
Recent terror attacks in Pakistan and on Pakistani armed forces have been carried out by factions with hideouts in Afghanistan, hence the Pakistani authorities paid special emphasis to stop terror emanating from Afghanistan into Pakistan.