ISLAMABAD: The first-ever meeting of Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Working Group was held in Kabul on Saturday.
A top-level delegation of Pakistan’s civil and military leadership, led by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, landed in Afghanistan on Saturday to attend the meeting.
— Dr Mohammad Faisal (@DrMFaisal) February 3, 2018
The Foreign Office spokesperson, on Friday, had said that Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua would head a Pakistani delegation visiting Kabul, where the first scheduled meeting of Pakistani and Afghan joint working groups is scheduled to take place.
He said that Pakistan had proposed five joint working groups which focus on ensuring comprehensive engagement for countering terrorism, intelligence sharing, military, economy, trade and transit interaction, refugee repatriation and connectivity.
Tehmina Janjua, while addressing the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Solidarity (APAPS) in Kabul, said that both the countries should work through mutual cooperation rather than engage in a meaningless blame game.
On the occasion, Janjua offered a joint investigation into the deadly terrorist attacks in Kabul while urging the Afghan government to destroy the hideouts of anti-Pakistan militants holed up in Afghanistan. Pakistan also stressed the need for effective border management on the Afghan side of the border to block the movement of militants into Pakistan.
Earlier this week, a high-level delegation from Afghanistan had landed in Pakistan to hold discussions on issues of mutual interest and cooperation. Afghan interior minister and National Directorate of Security chief were part of the delegation that met Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
A recent attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul and a suicide bombing on a crowded city street a week later have stoked public anger in Afghanistan and stepped up pressure on Ghani’s Western-backed government to improve security.
The attacks, which killed more than 130 people and wounded hundreds more, were claimed by the Taliban, which is fighting to drive out international troops and re-establish its form of strict Islamic law in Afghanistan.
The Foreign Office’s statement, as well as the National Security Committee’s (NSC) meeting, echoed the sentiment of solidarity even in the backdrop of a recent spate of attacks in the Afghan capital and subsequent accusations by the Afghan authorities, with their president’s the latest.
In the aftermath of the string of violent event in Kabul, both countries have witnessed heightened tensions besides hurling allegations at each other publicly. Adding to the long list of allegations, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Friday accused Pakistan of failing to act against the [Afghan] Taliban; however, Pakistan’s Foreign Office categorically denied these accusations.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif called for the resolution of Pak-Afghan issues through mutual trust and bilateral cooperation. He also condemned the deadly terrorist attacks in Kabul and said that Pakistan shared the grief of the Afghan people whose family members have been killed in the deadly attacks.
On Friday, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry had said that Pakistan favoured peace and stability in Afghanistan. Aizaz had said in an interview that Kabul’s blame game against Islamabad was disappointing, adding that Pakistan was the main beneficiary of a stable Afghanistan and would work towards that goal.
The next meetings between both Pakistan and Afghanistan would take place on February 9 and 10 in Islamabad.