Islamabad - Pakistan and Afghanistan yesterday agreed to push the Afghan reconciliation process forward with stern warning of punishment to those Taliban groups who would stick to violence.

The agreement was reached at a series of meetings between Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul on Sunday.

ISPR Director General Asim Bajwa in a statement said the two sides discussed security related issues, including information sharing, coordination in counterterrorism operations on respective sides and way forward for Afghan peace process.

“Both sides agreed that they would pursue peace and reconciliation with Taliban groups willing to join the process. Elements who would continue to pursue violence will be dealt under a mutually worked out framework,” he said.

The renewed Afghan-led and Afghan owned peace and reconciliation process will be carried forward under an already agreed quadrilateral framework agreed by Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and China.

“With a shared responsibility all stakeholders would support and ensure success of an Afghan government-led intra Afghan dialogue and reconciliation,” General Bajwa added.

He said both sides reiterated not to allow use of their soil against each other and decided to take stern action against elements involved in violence, through active intelligence sharing and Intelligence Based Operations (IBOs).

The COAS reached in Kabul on a day-long visit for deliberations on resumption of the Afghan reconciliation process and instituting a border management mechanism. He was received by Afghan Chief of General Staff with a guard of honour.

“General Raheel Sharif stressed on (the need for) instituting an efficient mechanism for better coordination and preclude chances of any individual/ group crossing over to either side,” he added.

ISPR DG said Pakistan and Afghanistan have also agreed to establish a hotline contact between the Director Generals Military Operations (DGMOs) to improve bilateral relations and increase frequency of military to military visits for better coordination.

Later, Pakistan Army chief met General John Campbell, Commander Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, and visited Bagram Air Base where he was briefed on the capabilities of Resolute Support Mission and special operations.

The visit of General Raheel Sharif came after the Afghan government agreed on resumption of peace and reconciliation with Taliban on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia Conference hosted by Pakistan earlier this month. Leadership of the two countries agreed to bury their past misgivings and decided not to blame each other for any failure.

Earlier, the COAS had visited Kabul along with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in May when the prime minister called upon Taliban to shun violence.

Pakistan facilitated reconciliation between the Afghan government and Taliban and had hosted their meeting on July 7 in Murree but it fizzled out ahead of the second round of talks planned for July 31 with the news that Taliban chief Mullah Omar had died in April 2013 which gave major blow to the credibility of the talks and provided an opportunity to the Afghan government to accuse Pakistan for not taking on board about his death two years after.

The new Taliban chief Mullah Mansoor suspended the talks and his fighters stepped up violence across Afghanistan with taking over of northern Kunduz province which further frayed Pakistan-Afghanistan relationship.

However, with pressure from the international community Afghan government announced on December 9 to resume peace process with Taliban within the quadrilateral framework and four countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan the US and China will meet next month to work out modalities about how the Afghan peace process can be made meaningful.

Prior these development, tension between Pakistan and Afghanistan ran high and their bilateral commission on border management could not meet to plug escape routes as a result many fighters of the defunct Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had fled into Afghanistan to evade wrath of Pakistani military operation Zarb-e-Azb in which more 3,500 militants had been killed in North Waziristan and Khyber tribal areas along the Pak-Afghan border.

According to some experts, as result of mistrust and tension over suspension of peace process, Afghan security forces alone had committed more than 130 border violations in which 18 Pakistani soldiers were killed.

“Both sides agreed that the first round of dialogue between Afghanistan, Pakistan, US and China will be held in January to layout a comprehensive roadmap for peace,” the Afghan presidential palace said in a statement in Kabul.