Senate body to visit Afghanistan on March 25


A delegation of Senate Standing Committee on Defence and Defense Production is likely to visit Afghanistan on March 25 for the first parliamentary dialogue between the two countries.
The committee’s chairman, Senator Mushahid Hussain told a private TV channel that the three-day parliamentary dialogue would act as a force multiplier for Pak-Afghan relationship.
The two countries have traditionally had a complicated relationship characterized by mutual suspicion. Ethnic issues, border disputes and lately differences over counter-terrorism strategies have been the major sources of divergence between the neighbors described by President Karzai as ‘conjoined twins’, but lingering mistrust between their spy agencies widened the gulf.
Lawmakers visit to Afghanistan is followed after the acting head of the Afghan intelligence service, Hassamuddin Hassam, secretly visited Pakistan in December in a bid to narrow their strategic difference.
His visit took place after a suicide attack on the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) chief Assadullah Khalid.
Acting head of the Afghan spy agency’s visit to Pakistan was aimed at investigating a suicide attack on Afghan spy chief Asadullah Khalid after the Afghan government had claimed that the attack had been planned in Quetta while President Hamid Karzai accused an unnamed foreign intelligence agency of having masterminded it.
Pakistani security forces reportedly arrested two Afghan nationals in connection to the incident. According to the sources, Afghan spy agency was satisfied by the investigation and cooperation of Pakistan.
In the meantime Pakistani and Afghan officials also agreed on a structured military and intelligence dialogue and their army chiefs, heads of intelligence and directors general of military operations have been meeting regularly.
A major step forward towards building trust between the nations was taken after the arrest of a high-ranking Pakistani Taliban leader Maulvi Faqir Muhammad by the NDS at the end of February.