ISLAMABAD - The strained military ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan, triggered by a cross-border incident last month, have finally seen a thaw with the arrival of Afghan military delegation here to hold consultations with their Pakistani counterparts to "reduce space for detractors."

The development, according to a military official, sees taking a step towards the resumption of deliberations on the much-hyped military venture between the two neighbours, Pakistan's military-led training programme for Afghan soldiers.

The Army officer, a Brigadier by rank, however, sounded cognisant of the sensitivities involved. "It's just a tip of iceberg. There's a long way to go. Not to forget that the road to joint cooperation is very thorny," he said.

"One bad incident and everything ends up in nothing. Summarily, that's what Pak-Afghan military terms are all about." 

According to a military statement, a delegation of Afghan Army officials, headed by Director General Military Operations (DGMO) Afghan National Army Major General Afzal Aman, visited General Headquarters (GHQ) and met Major General Ashfaq Nadeem Ahmed, the DG MO at Pakistan Army, for talks over border coordination with Pakistani officers, here on Monday.

"Meeting was held in a cordial environment. All ongoing cross-border coordination issues including border post construction in Mohmand Agency were discussed and amicably resolved. Both sides agreed on continuation of such bilateral interactions to enhance bilateral border coordination and reduce space for detractors," the statement added. The Afghan delegation, the military source informed, arrived on a two-day visit and is to leave for Kandahar on Tuesday (today).

Reuter adds:Meanwhile, hundreds of Afghan University students in the eastern city of Jalalabad took to the streets on Monday to protest the building of a Pakistani military gate in what the Afghan Defence Ministry says is inside Afghanistan.

The incident is the latest in rising tensions between the two sides, whose attempts to lure the Taliban to the peace table have stalled amid their feuding.

The protest was sparked by a statement on Sunday by Afghan President Hamid Karzai who ordered his top officials to take immediate action to remove the gate and other “Pakistani military installations near the Durand Line”.

Afghanistan maintains that activity by either side along the Durand Line must be approved by both the countries.

“Establishing a gate by Pakistan on the Durand Line and inside Afghanistan is against all international norms,” Afghan defence ministry spokesman, General Zahir Azimi, told a news conference on Monday.

“We will use all options to remove whatever they have built,” he said, without elaborating.

That came on the same day as university students in the Surkhroad district of Nangarhar province demonstrated against the Pakistani gate.

Protesting against Pakistan, the students marched from Nangarhar University and blocked the main highway between Kabul and Jalalabad.