KABUL, ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa congratulated the Afghan government on the recently announced Taliban cease-fire deal.
It came during an official visit to Afghanistan to discuss the political and military situation in the region with the country’s President Ashraf Ghani and other political and military leaders. He was accompanied by the the Director General Inter-Services Intelligence Naveed Mukhtar. They returned on Tuesday.
“During this trip, the implementation and execution of a plan for peace and solidarity for Afghanistan-Pakistan, the campaign against terrorism, reduction of violence and peace talks under the leadership and ownership of Afghans, was discussed,” said Shah Hussain Murtazawi, a spokesman for Ghani.
Posting on Twitter, Tamim Asey, a deputy Afghan defense minister, said that Bajwa had discussed the political-military developments in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the region with Ghani and Afghan military and political leaders. The general also met Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and NATO’s Commander Resolute Support Mission, Gen. John Nicholson.
The visit came days after the announcement on on June 9, 2018, by the Afghan Taliban of a three-day cease-fire over Eid Al Fitr, the first truce of its kind by insurgents since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
Inter-Services Public Relations, the Pakistani military’s media wing, said: “(Bajwa) congratulated the Afghan government for the cease-fire deal and hoped these steps gain more permanence, ultimately leading toward enduring peace.”
It also quoted Bajwa saying that Pakistan had attained relative peace and stability inside its borders and “efforts are now focused toward socio-economic development as a route toward enduring peace and stability.”
The statement added that his discussions in Afghanistan encompassed a wide range of issues, especially the ongoing efforts for reconciliation in the country, the measures needed to check the rise of Daesh, and the issue of terrorists taking advantage of the porous border to indulge in terrorism, smuggling and drug trafficking.
“The Afghanistan Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Stability is expected to bring more cooperation and coordination between the two countries,” Bajwa added.
Analyst Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal said that Bajwa’s visit was a continuation of the direct talks the United States had with him and the caretaker government.
“When the cease-fire was announced, everyone was jubilant,” he said. “Pakistan is a key strategic player in the peace process, and while Afghanistan may not be entirely dependent on Pakistan for peace, especially considering the huge trust deficit between the countries, with the Pakistan army chief being invited to Kabul to discuss stability in the region it is clear that completely cutting off from Pakistan is not beneficial for Afghanistan either.”