- Army chief says Pakistani territory would not be used against any other country
KABUL/RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa said on Tuesday that the path to regional peace and stability passes through Afghanistan.
Addressing Chiefs of Defence Conference held in the Afghan capital, he said that regions develop as a whole and not in the form of individual countries. The conference was attended by US CENTCOM Commander General Joseph Votel, US commander in Afghanistan General John Nicholson and army chiefs of Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Addressing the conference, General Bajwa said that Pakistan has eradicated all terrorist sanctuaries from its soil. However, he said that residual signs of terrorists were being traced and targeted through the ongoing Radd-ul-Fasaad operation. He said that terrorists try to take advantage of the presence of 2.7 million Afghan refugees and absence of effective border security coordination.
The army chief once again assured that the Pakistani territory would not be used against any other country. “Pakistan expects reciprocation in this regard,” he said. The army chief said that collaborative approach and persistence was the answer to all challenges, for which Pakistan was willing to play its part.
The conference concluded with the agreement to continue cooperation for regional peace and stability. The high-level conference comes less than a month after a series of deadly attacks rattled Kabul, following which a high-level delegation from Afghanistan comprising the interior minister and spy chief had visited Islamabad with a ‘personal message’ from President Ashraf Ghani.
The delegation held talks with Pakistani leadership on security cooperation amid the highly volatile security situation in their country. Afghan officials had said that the delegation handed over to Islamabad ‘undeniable’ evidence which claimed that the spate of deadly attacks in Afghanistan was allegedly planned in Pakistan.
Despite Pak-Afghan delegations meeting for talks both in Islamabad and Kabul, little headway has been made on the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS), which is a Pakistani initiative for cooperation in the areas of counterterrorism and reduction of violence, peace and reconciliation, refugees’ repatriation and joint economic development.