Afghan Ambassador denies Ashraf Ghani refused call from Pakistani PM

Afghan Ambassador denies Ashraf Ghani refused call from Pakistani PM

ISLAMABAD - Afghan Deputy Head of Mission in Islamabad Zardasht Shams has said the visiting high level Afghan delegation had a detailed meeting with PM Abbasi and senior officials.

The meeting came hours after Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan denied reports that President Ashraf Ghani refused to take a condolence phone call from Prime Minister Abbasi after the Kabul terror attack.

“Not true – no phone call has taken place. Following recent horrific terrorist attacks in Kabul PM Abassi conveyed a message to President Ghani to which it was responded to by high powered delegation by the President to meet the PM today (January 31),” he tweeted.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said the high-level delegation representing the Afghan government had arrived in <link>Islamabad <link> to discuss “cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan .”

He said the delegation also carried a message from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani for the Pakistani leadership

This week, the foreign ministry said that 27 individuals suspected of belonging to Tehrik-e-Taliban Afghanistan and the Haqqani Network were handed over to Afghanistan in November 2017.

Dr Faisal said Pakistan continued to push any suspected TTA and HN elements to prevent them from using “our soil for any terrorist activity in Afghanistan .”

Pakistan, he said, had sacrificed 75,000 civilians and 6,000 soldiers to the scourge of terrorism. “We have one of the highest officer-to-soldier casualty rate globally and suffered economic losses worth $123 billion.

However, Ambassador Zakhilwal said he was ‘astonished’ to see the reports. He said if this indeed happened it would be a huge step forward in Pakistan and Afghanistan mutual bilateral relations.

Afghan delegation’s visit came amid rising tension between Pakistan and Afghanistan . Afghanistan was furious after an attack on a luxury hotel and a car bomb in the capital Kabul that killed more than 120 people. Afghanistan blamed Pakistan-based militants for carrying out the attack.

Meanwhile, a delegation from <link> Islamabad <link>will visit Afghanistan on February 3. “The delegation, led by the foreign secretary (Tehmina Janjua), will hold constructive and meaningful discussions with Afghanistan on all issues including counter-terrorism, peace and reconciliation and repatriation of refugees,” an official statement said.

The Pakistani delegation will participate in the first meeting of Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Solidarity.

The delegation, the statement said will hold “constructive and meaningful discussions with Afghanistan on all issues including Counter-Terrorism, Peace and Reconciliation and Repatriation of Refugees.”

It added Pakistan wanted to engage with Afghanistan at official and State to State level rather than conducting diplomacy through the media.

“For this very reason, the Prime Minister of Pakistan had wanted to speak with the President of Afghanistan , and we accepted urgent request of the Afghan government to receive Minister of Interior Affairs Wais Ahmad Barmak and NDS Chief Mohammed Masoom Stanekzai at <link>Islamabad <link> , carrying a message from President of Afghanistan ,” it said.

Foreign Policy