Tuesday , March 19 2019

Pak, Afghan joint working groups to meet in Kabul on Saturday: FO – Pakistan

Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua will head a Pakistani delegation visiting Kabul on Saturday, where the first scheduled meeting of Pakistani and Afghan joint working groups is scheduled to take place, Radio Pakistan reported, citing Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal.

The FO spokesperson announced the development at a weekly press briefing, saying 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.

The meeting comes in the backdrop of a series of deadly attacks rattled Kabul, after which a high-level delegation from Afghanistan comprising the interior minister and spy chief had visited Islamabad this week 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 were allegedly planned in Pakistan.

The FO spokesperson had earlier clarified, however, that the joint working group delegation’s trip had been scheduled long before recent developments in Pak-Afghan ties.

In today’s briefing, Dr Faisal reiterated Islamabad’s assertions that there are no terrorist safe havens anywhere in Pakistan, adding that the country would never allow its soil to be used against any other country.

The FO spokesperson also explained that 27 suspected Haqqani network and Taliban fighters that were allegedly handed over to Afghanistan in November last year ─ a claim that the Afghan envoy has denied ─ had links to the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network.

Dr Faisal also rejected accusations of Pakistani cooperation with the Haqqani network.

He stressed that Kabul should ensure better border management in order to check cross-border terrorism into Pakistan, and focus on eliminating Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) safe havens on its own territory.

He also demanded the world acknowledge Pakistan’s role as a frontline state in the fight against terrorism.

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