PM Abbasi lands in Kabul to 'reduce mistrust'

Charlene Craig
April 7, 2018

KABUL: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Friday arrived in Kabul on a daylong visit to discuss wide ranging bilateral matters with the Afghan leadership.

President Ghani offered unconditional talks to the Taliban more than a month ago at an worldwide conference in Kabul to try to end the bloodshed in his country.

"Both leaders called on the Taliban to respond positively to the peace offer and join the peace process without further delay".

Foreign office on Thursday in a statement said that the visit aimed at reducing mistrust between the two neighbours.

Besides, the prime minister also met the Chairman High Peace Council Ustad Karim Khalili, the Leader of Hizb-e-Wahdat Ustaad Muhammad Mohaqiq, the Head of National Islamic Front of Afghanistan Pir Syed Hamed Galani, and the Leader of Hizb-e-Islami Gulbadin Hekmatyar.

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They agreed on achieving the common aim of regional security through connectivity. "They emphasised early completion of TAPI and CASA-1000 projects".

PM Abbasi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani inspecting the guard of honour.

"The two sides also agreed to initiate discussions on consular matters and exchange of civilian prisoners", the statement read. In the near-term, expect both countries to tentatively boost bilateral economic cooperation, particularly in regard to small-scale investments in Afghan infrastructure; however, no major investment initiatives are expected.

The prime minister will also meet senior Afghan political leaders.

Ahead of his trip, Abbasi said that "nobody wants peace in Afghanistan more than Pakistan because we are the most affected" by terrorism.

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The visit by the Pakistan premier came in the backdrop of Pakistan's support to Ghani's peace offering to the Taliban and wish of strengthening bilateral engagement with Islamabad.

The statement said the two sides discussed Pakistan's connection to Central Asia, energy transition, Quetta-Kandahar-Herat and Peshawar-Jalalabad railroad projects and construction of Peshawar-Jalalabad highway.

Hours before the premier's visit, Afghanistan accused the Pakistan Air Force of violating its airspace.

FO spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said in a series of tweets clarified that Pakistani security forces are undertaking counter-terrorism operations in Bajaur Agency, directed against terrorist groups who continue to attack Pakistan from their sanctuaries based on Afghan soil.

It said the information about the ongoing counter-terrorism operations is shared with Afghan security forces on a regular basis.

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