—President Ghani and PM Abbasi call terrorism a common enemy and threat to regional stability
—Pak-Afghan leadership agree to operationalise five working groups constituted under APAPPS
— Ghani’s offer of peace talks follows US President Donald Trump’s announcement to hold talks with Taliban
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister (PM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani held talks in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, on Friday where the two leaders reiterated that terrorism was a common enemy and a threat to regional stability. They agreed not to allow their soils to be used for anti-state activities against each other.
The prime minister landed in Afghanistan on a day-long visit and was accompanied by his delegation which comprised of National Security Adviser Nasser Janjua, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra.
Both the leaders also agreed that peace, prosperity and stability of the two countries were interlinked. They reaffirmed their resolve to work together to address all issues of bilateral and transit trade. They also expressed their firm resolve not to allow politics to affect their economic relationship which was important for the welfare of the people of the two countries.
Further, the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to regional connectivity as they had done in Herat on February 23 this year while jointly inaugurating the entry of TAPI gas pipeline from Turkmenistan into Afghanistan.
They agreed to hold an early meeting of the Joint Economic Commission to take forward the planning and implementation process of the key railroad, gas pipeline and energy projects that would integrate Pakistan and Afghanistan with Central Asia.
The two leaders also agreed to continue work on the Chaman-Kandahar-Herat railway line, Peshawar-Kabul motorway, and other connectivity projects which held tremendous potential for the South and Central Asian Regions by providing shortest access through the seaports of Gwadar and Karachi. They emphasised early completion of TAPI and CASA-1000 projects.
During discussions, the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan called on the Afghan Taliban to respond positively to the peace offer made by the Afghan president and join the peace process without further delay.
Ghani’s offer of peace talks follows US President Donald Trump’s announcement that his country would hold talks with the Taliban.
The vow was made by President Ghani and PM Abbasi during a one-on-one meeting. A similar commitment was also made during the delegation level meetings held at the Presidential Palace in Kabul.
On the occasion, the prime minister welcomed President Ghani’s vision for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and his offer of peace talks with the Taliban.
President Ghani and Prime Minister Abbasi discussed the whole gamut of Pak-Afghan relations, including peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, counter-terrorism strategies, repatriation of Afghan refugees, bilateral trade and regional connectivity.
Both the leaders agreed that there was no military solution to the ongoing Afghan conflict and that the political solution was the best way forward – a stance promoted by Pakistan since a decade or so.
Moreover, in another major development, the Afghan president also agreed to Pakistan’s Afghan peace plan, noting that Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) provided a useful framework for broad-based and structured engagement on all issues of mutual interest and decided to operationalise the five working groups constituted under APAPPS.
The prime minister also met Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah. Both the leaders discussed issues pertaining to bilateral matters and agreed on regular leadership contacts between the two neighbouring countries.
As a gesture of goodwill, PM Abbasi announced a gift of 40,000 tons of wheat for the Afghan people. He also announced a relaxation on additional regulatory duty on Afghan export to Pakistan to help lift Afghanistan’s economy. The two sides also agreed to initiate discussions on consular matters and exchange of civilian prisoners.
Moreover, President Ghani and PM Abbasi reaffirmed their resolve to build trust and confidence between the two countries by working closely for peace, prosperity and stability in their countries. The two leaders agreed to continue the exchange of high-level visits.
Prime Minister Abbasi extended invitations to President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah to visit Islamabad at their earliest convenience.
The prime minister also met with other senior political leaders from Afghanistan, including Gulbadin Hekmatyar, Ustad Mohammad Mohaqiq, Ustad Mohammad Karim Khalili, and Pir Sayed Hamed Gailani. He conveyed a message of support from the government and the people of Pakistan to all ethnic groups in Afghanistan and underscored Pakistan’s commitment towards establishing peace in Afghanistan.