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Pakistan Army chief to visit Kabul

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Islamabad, Nov 5:

Pakistan Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif is going on a day-long visit to Kabul Thursday to discuss security and other issues, the military said Wednesday.

Photo Courtesy: dawn.com
Photo Courtesy: dawn.com

The army chief will call on Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, army spokesman Maj. Gen. Asim Salim Bajwa said, Xinhua reported.

This will be the Pakistan Army chief’s first visit to Kabul since the new government assumed office in September.

The spokesman said Gen. Sharif would hold talks with the Afghan defence minister, national security advisor and senior military leaders, Xinhua reported.

The visit is deemed important as it would provide an opportunity to the Pakistani army chief to discuss security, border issues and anti-terrorism cooperation with the new Afghan leaders.

As most foreign troops will leave Afghanistan in two months and the US-led NATO will end combat mission, Afghan forces will take on the burden of overall security.

Kabul will need Islamabad’s cooperation in the post-NATO security situation and that would be the main topic during the Pakistan Army chief’s talks.

Tension has increased in recent months between the two countries over cross-border attacks and the illegal movement of the Taliban militants.

The peace process in Afghanistan is also likely to be discussed.

Gen. Sharif will be the third top Pakistani leader to visit Afghanistan in less than two months. President Mamnoon Hussain represented Pakistan at the inauguration ceremony of President Ghani Sep 28.

Pakistan’s top security adviser Sartaj Aziz visited Kabul last month and invited Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah to visit Islamabad.

Afghan officials say Ghani is likely to visit Pakistan this month.

Prior to his visit to Kabul, the army chief met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad Wednesday and discussed with him security matters, the PM’s office said.

Both also discussed the overall security situation with particular reference to the ongoing operation against militancy.
(IANS)