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March 24, 2013

First Pak-Afghan parliamentary defence dialogue tomorrow

March 24, 2013


ISLAMABAD: First Pak-Afghan Parliamentary defence dialogue would be held in Kabul tomorrow (Monday).
A delegation of Pakistan’s Senate Standing Committee on Defense and Defence Production is due to visit Afghanistan on March 25 for the first parliamentary dialogue between the two countries in the defense sector.
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.
Pakistani 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

A major step forward towards building trust between the nations was taken after the arrest of a high-ranking Pakistani Taliban leader Maulvi Faqir Mohammad by the NDS at the end of February.
On the other hand Pakistan took the first step towards confidence building by releasing detained Taliban leaders to assist Afghanistan in the peace process.
Pakistan released at least 26 med to high ranking Taliban detainees in a bid to support Afghan-led peace process. Kabul and Islamabad have agreed on a mechanism for release of more Taliban to address shortcomings in the previous procedure, but the new system has not yet been activated.
But the process has now been on hold for months with reports suggesting that President Karzai not being too cooperative.




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