In a move that bore strong resemblance to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to Pakistan at the outset of his tenure, Pakistani Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqqan Abbasi visited Kabul on Friday. The intention to “reset” relations after a breakdown in the recent past was evident; from the guard of honour given to Mr Abbasi to the high-powered delegation that accompanied both heads of state.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are making big leaps forward to mend the severed ties and work towards bilateral cooperation in the near future. The new plan of action involves a political solution for resolving the war in Afghanistan and the framework of Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) was finalised during Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s day trip to the neighbouring country. It has been a while since a meeting of high-ups was arranged to discuss crucial matters and this gesture itself will go a long way to improve the cooperation between the two countries.

Afghanistan has recently witnessed their own version of the APS attack and has once again pushed and urged the Taliban to join the negotiating table as soon as possible. Pakistan and Afghanistan both seem to be of the opinion that the war need not be won; rather it can only be ended. And if that is the course of action both countries choose to adopt then negotiating with the Taliban is a must. However, after last time’s request to the Taliban for peace talks, we have only witnessed more terrorist attacks and the Taliban showing no interest in this dialogue.

This goes to show that we have been here before. Meetings which talk about concrete policies do not always bear concrete results. This is something that both countries need to work upon, in order to ensure that this time nothing gets in the way of implementation of the policies which have been framed over the course of a couple of months.

However the trust deficit between the two countries still needs to be worked upon. Afghanistan still is wary of Pakistan and accuses it of cross border tensions. This trust deficit will impact the peace process. Both sides need to show solidarity and work towards peace together. The recent efforts should result in the materialisation of the plan of action. Both countries need to diplomatically ready to deal with the challenges which will come up and build a new relationship of trust and commitment to peace.