ISLAMABAD - Amid the atmosphere of mistrust and blame game over the border skirmishes and territorial violations, an Afghan security delegation and Pakistan military officials held a detailed meeting here on Thursday and came up with an agreement to work in a close unison in future to avoid misunderstandings adversely affecting mutual relations of the two neighbouring countries.
Both the sides further came up with the commitment not to allow their respective lands to be used for attacks against each other as well as against the other neighbouring states.
The Pak-Afghan director general military operations (DGMOs)-level talks at the GHQ concluded with a positive note. The meeting was attended by high-ranking military officials of both the countries amid the hopes that they would not allow their lands to be used for armed attacks on either side.
According to the details released by Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), a high-level eight-member delegation of the Afghan military arrived in Islamabad and visited the GHQ in Rawalpindi.
The Afghan delegation was led by Major-General Afzal Aman, director general military operation (DGMO), and comprised representatives from the Afghan National Security Council (NSC), military intelligence and the border police. The Pakistani side was headed by DGMO Major-General Amir Riaz.
A detailed briefing was given on border coordination mechanism. The Issue of cross-border shelling, terrorist sanctuaries in Kunar and Nuristan provinces of Afghanistan and attack on Pakistani border villages and posts from those sanctuaries also came under discussion.
The Afghan delegation was told that Pakistan only fires back in self-defence when its border posts are attacked by terrorists from the Afghan territory and no indiscriminate firing is carried out from Pakistan’s side.
The ISPR confirmed that the meeting was held in a cordial, congenial and professional atmosphere and both the sides agreed to build further trust, continue to talk under all circumstances and evolve a robust and effective border coordination mechanism.
Both the sides also agreed to hold another meeting for which schedule is being finalised. The delegation is expected to visit the Pak-Afghan border along with Pakistani military officials to assess the exact situation on the ground.
Earlier on Wednesday, a Foreign Office official said during a media briefing that Pakistan would urge Afghan authorities to take action against Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) hideouts in its territory, especially in Kunar and Nuristan, and stop their operations from there.
According to sources, both the sides ruled out any possibility of hot pursuit inside the territories of either country and that they would respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of each other.
Both the sides agreed to work closely and Pakistani side also asserted that they would work with the new Afghan government cordially and play their positive role for a peaceful and smooth transition of power in Kabul.
It is worth mentioning that the meeting took place to allay concerns of both the sides regarding the border skirmishes which had taken place in the recent past.
It was a follow-up meeting on Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser Dr Rangin Dadfar Spanta’s visit to Pakistan. Spanta came to Pakistan after PM Nawaz Sharif’s Special Envoy Mehmood Khan Achakzai visited Kabul earlier last month. During his visit, Achakzai had sought Kabul’s cooperation to tighten security along the border in order to stop militants from entering Afghanistan.
Previously, the Afghan security officials who were due in Pakistan in connection with talks on the matter on June 4 had put off their visit in protest against the border skirmishes.
The tension on the two sides was so high that the foreign ministries of both the countries had summoned the ambassadors of each other to lodge protest on the matter of border violations.
In view of this grave situation, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif phoned Afghan President Hamid Karzai which brought the soaring temperature down.
Kunar and Nuristan provinces are located in the northeast of Afghanistan and have a border with Pakistan in the east. The provinces are mountainous or semi-mountainous terrain and a safe haven for terrorists fleeing the Pakistani operation in NWA.