ISLAMABAD/KABUL - Prime Minister Imran Khan has reaffirmed Pakistan’s support to a peaceful, stable, united, democratic, sovereign and prosperous Afghanistan.

In his day-long visit to Kabul on Thursday, he reiterated his long-standing view that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and that a negotiated political settlement is the only way forward for enduring peace, stability and prosperity in the neighboring country.

The Prime Minister had wide-ranging talks with President Ashraf Ghani to review efforts during the past two years to promote shared objectives of strengthening Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relations and achieving lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Imran Khan called all sides for taking necessary measures for reduction in violence leading to ceasefire to protect Afghan lives.

Underscoring the importance of an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement, the Prime Minister underlined that Pakistan will respect the decisions made by Afghans in the peace process. He also cautioned against those who could spoil the peace efforts.

Prime Minister Imran Khan thanked President Ghani for extending an invitation to visit Afghanistan, expressing confidence that it would lead to further strengthening of ties between the two countries.

He said Pakistan and Afghanistan enjoyed historic links and brotherly relations, and recalled that during the era of 70s; Kabul and Peshawar were the favourite destinations for the visitors from both sides.

Imran Khan regretted that the people of Afghanistan unfortunately suffered violence for four decades and Pakistan was most concerned about the situation due to the fallout of situation in its own tribal areas.

“My visit at this particular time has a message that Pakistan wants peace in Afghanistan,” he added. The prime minister said peace and connectivity was the best way to ensure prosperity of Pakistan, Afghanistan and also the entire region.

He said close cooperation between the committees from both sides and intelligence agencies would lead towards finding effective solutions for peace and stability. He said Pakistan played a consistent role in Intra-Afghan dialogue and noticed with concern the increasing level of violence despite the Qatar peace deal inked between the United States and Taliban in Doha, Qatar in February.

“Now again to build trust, we will help the Afghan government to meet their expectations,” he said.

Earlier, President Ashraf Ghani welcomed the prime minister, saying the visit was a “step to strengthen faith and cooperation”.  

“Our common focus will be poverty eradication and empowerment of our countries,” Ghani told the media persons on the occasion. Ashraf Ghani acknowledged that Prime Minister Imran Khan came to Kabul with an “important message to help end violence.”

He said enduring peace within the framework of joint cooperation was important to lead towards a comprehensive ceasefire. “All of us need to understand that violence is not an answer, but an inclusive politics,” he said.

With PM Imran Khan’s visit, Ghani said a “foundation of trust was established today” to continue the journey towards sustainable peace. He announced to visit Pakistan in near future on the invitation of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The Afghan president mentioned that during his meeting with Imran Khan, the two sides agreed that respect for Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) was in the hearts and minds of every Muslim and stressed that the world must differentiate between the ‘negative comments’ from the freedom of expression.

During the Prime Minister’s visit, Pakistan and Afghanistan also issued a document titled Shared Vision between Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Support Peace and Stability in Both Countries and the Wider Region.

The Shared Vision is aimed at advancing a forward-looking cooperative partnership between the two countries for political, economic and people-to-people exchanges. The two leaders agreed to constitute Committees to pursue security and peace-related matters.

The Prime Minister expressed satisfaction at increasing high-level leadership exchanges imparting a steady momentum to bilateral cooperation in diverse fields.

In this regard, he appreciated that the recent visit of Advisor on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood to Kabul from 16-18 of this month led to important breakthroughs for commencement of negotiations on Preferential Trade Agreement and Customs Assistance Agreement. The two leaders also agreed to expedite infrastructure and energy connectivity projects. They also discussed development of new rail-road projects between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Prime Minister extended an invitation to President Ashraf Ghani to visit Pakistan at his earliest convenience.