ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and Afghanistan have stepped up efforts to enhance military-to-military cooperation to tackle challenges relating to terrorism and extremism.

The December 16 terrorist attack on the Army Public School Peshawar, killing more than 150 people prompted Islamabad and Kabul to evolve joint course against the common threat.

The grisly school attack forced Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif to rush to Afghanistan the same day to seek closer cooperation from Kabul as the attackers had direct link with the militants using Afghan soil.

Gen Raheel had also sought Kabul's help to extradite top Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan chief Mullah Fazlullah who is wanted for terrorism cases in Pakistan. Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt-Gen Rizwan Akhtar also visited Afghanistan in order to tighten noose around militants operating on both sides of Pak-Afghan border.

Both Islamabad and Kabul agreed to take adequate steps to tighten border controls and intelligence sharing. Consequently, Afghan security forces arrested five Pakistani suspected militants believed to have contacts with terrorists who attacked Army Public School.

They are reportedly being investigated by the Afghan security forces ahead of their handing over to Pakistan. On Sunday Corps Commander Peshawar Lieutenant General Hidayat-ur-Rehman visited Afghanistan and discussed matters related to border security with ISAF authorities.  

According to ISPR, both the sides discussed the strategy to further improve bilateral cooperation. Commander Southern Command Lieutenant General Nasir Khan Janjua will also visit Afghanistan on Wednesday and discuss cooperation on border security with Afghan authorities.

Purpose of these visits is to promote security cooperation between the two neighbouring countries.

In the wake of Dec 16 attack on Peshawar's Army Public School, Adviser to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had said that security forces in Pakistan and Afghanistan had agreed to carry out coordinated operations against terrorists along the Pak-Afghan border.

Aziz said the Afghan leadership in Kabul had assured the Pakistan Army of full cooperation in countering terrorism.

The US Secretary of State John Kerry who visited Pakistan last week along with CentCom Commander not only condemned the terrorist attack on Army Public School but also hailed the growing cooperation between Islamabad and Kabul against the common enemy.

The US also declared Mullah Fazlullah as terrorist. Media reports from Afghanistan suggest that ISAF and Afghan Security Forces have stepped up crackdown against Mullah Fazlullh's group believed to be operating against Pakistan from Afghanistan's eastern Kunur province. Internally, Pakistan continues with its Zarb-e-Azb operation against militants in North Waziristan and Khyber Agency and other parts of Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).