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Peaceful Afghanistan means peace in Pakistan: COAS

PESHAWAR: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa accompanied by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) head Lt Gen Faiz Hameed reached Kabul on an unannounced visit on Monday.

They called separately on President Dr Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation. Gen Bajwa reiterated that a peaceful Afghanistan means a peaceful region in general and a peaceful Pakistan in particular, and stated: "We will always support ‘Afghan led-Afghan owned peace process’ based on mutual consensus of all the stakeholders.”

Afghan President thanked the COAS for a meaningful discussion and appreciated Pakistan's sincere and positive role in the peace process. General Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter, UK’s Chief of the Defence Staff, was also present during the meeting. According to ISPR, matters of mutual interest, current developments in Afghan peace process, enhanced bilateral security, defence cooperation, and the need for effective border management were discussed.

He is reportedly mediating between the two sides and had earlier met Gen Bajwa in Islamabad. Dr Abdullah later took to Twitter and said he welcomed Gen Bajwa and focused on the current state of the Afghan peace process and on ways leading to a permanent ceasefire and continued intra-Afghan talks.

He said there was no military solution to the Afghan crisis, adding, they stressed on the need to restart meaningful talks between the Afghan government and Taliban aimed at an inclusive and comprehensive political settlement.

According to Dr Abdullah, Gen Bajwa assured him of Pakistan support for an inclusive power-sharing arrangement and elections as a right of Afghans to self-determination. "Appreciating a constructive Pakistani role, I urged all sides to aim at what is possible as we take steps towards a durable, just and acceptable political settlement," Dr Abdullah stated.

The COAS also offered condolences on sad demise of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and said that the world has lost a highly respected friend. The British defence chief appreciated Pakistan’s sincere efforts for peace and stability in the region, especially the Afghan peace process.

Gen Bajwa also thanked the visiting dignitary for UK’s contribution towards fight against COVID-19 in Pakistan, and said the Pakistan Army greatly values its friendly relations with the UK.