ISLAMABAD - Amidst the ongoing military operations in Pakistan’s north-western tribal region, the top military men from Pakistan, Afghanistan and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) exchanged fresh reiterations on cooperation against militancy at the respective sides of the Pak-Afghan border.

They reviewed security procedures that envisage enhanced information sharing between the border coordination centres and would be finalised at the 37th Tripartite Commission (TC) meeting between the three military commanders, credible military sources revealed.

The time, date and venue of the meeting would be decided soon during a visit of Pakistan’s military delegation to Afghanistan, it is learnt.

The development surfaces at a time when Pakistan Army administers two major military offensives against Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its rival militant offshoot Ansar-ul-Islam in Khyber and Kurram Agencies.

As many as 80,000 people have been displaced from Tirah Valley (Khyber Agency) and 51,000 from Kurram Agency to alternate locations due to security operations, according to the United Nations.

In their second interaction at the General Headquarters in less than three weeks, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, ISAF Commander General Joseph F Dunford and Afghanistan’s Chief of General Staff General Sher Muhammad Karimi on Saturday discussed enhanced cross-border cooperation with particular reference to the areas witnessing military operations.

“The three discussed matters of mutual interest with particular emphasis on coordination measures at Pak-Afghan border and standing operating procedures (SOPs) put in place to improve the border control,” a brief statement on the commanders’ meeting said.

According to military sources, the new SOPs involving border coordinators’ working, border coordination centres’ supervision as well as joint land and aerial (border) procedures involving intelligence sharing and target identification were discussed at the meeting between the three generals. The contemplated initiatives would come into effect after the TC meeting.

The sources further said Pakistan’s military delegation expected to visit Afghanistan soon would include the army, air and intelligence officials.

Discussions on aerial coordination regarding Pakistan Air Force-led air strikes at the militants in the two tribal agencies would be discussed at the said meeting, the sources said. “The PAF has a significant role in the ongoing military operations in Khyber and Kurram. Its technical and operational recommendations would be on the meeting’s agenda,” the officials furthered.

Reportedly, joint border procedures by means of information exchange at the respective sides of the border have been envisaged to act against certain Khyber Agency-based tribal leaders who are presently in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province and are believed to have colluded with Afghan militants to create instability in the borderlands.

General Kayani, General Dunford and General Karimi had earlier met at the GHQ on the last month’s 20th during a Pakistan Army-hosted international symposium on the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that was attended by the top military men from 28 countries. General Kayani had proposed setting up of an internationally-supported regional counter-IEDs military forum against the IEDs threat.

Pakistan Army, Afghan National Army (ANA) and ISAF have already formed a joint working group and its attached sub-committee on the C-IEDs under the umbrella of TC.

On May 25 and 28, General Dunford and General Knud Bartels, the Chairman NATO (North Atlantic Military Organisation) Military Committee, respectively met General Kayani at the GHQ to discuss border coordination at Pak-Afghan borderlands and C-IEDs measures.