Pakistan Afghanistan state to state talks: Was there any Breakthrough?

Pakistan Afghanistan state to state talks: Was there any Breakthrough?

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and Afghanistan failed to achieve any big breakthrough at the highest-level talks on Friday although the neighbours agreed to work together for peace, Nation has reported.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi along with his team met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, among other officials, during his one-day visit to Kabul and discussed bilateral ties.

Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that the meetings were held in ‘positive environment’ but the trust deficit persisted.

One official said: “The two sides showed intent to resolve their issues but there is still a long way to go. Afghanistan suspects Pakistan’s role while we are victims of cross-border terrorism.”

He said: “Although there was no big breakthrough, these meetings will be helpful in future talks for regional peace. We shared the evidence of cross-border terrorism with the Afghan leadership. They also made identical complaints. They shared their evidence with us.”

An official statement said that the two countries agreed to work to achieve the common aim of regional security through connectivity. Abbasi also extended an invitation to President Ghani to visit Pakistan “at his earliest convenience”.

After the meeting with President Ghani and his delegation, PM Abbasi and his entourage held talks with Abdullah.

A foreign ministry statement issued here after Abbasi’s Kabul meetings said PM and President Ghani discussed the entire gamut of Pak-Afghan relations including peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, counter-terrorism, return of Afghan refugees, bilateral trade and regional connectivity.

“The two leaders agreed that Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity provided a useful framework for broad based and structured engagement on all issues of mutual interest and decided to operationalise the five working groups under APAPPS,” it said.

Abbasi welcomed President Ghani’s vision for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and his offer of peace talks to Taliban.

Both leaders called on the Taliban to respond positively to the peace offer and join the peace process without further delay. They agreed that there was no military solution to the ongoing Afghan conflict and that the political solution was the best way forward.

The two leaders reiterated that terrorism was a common enemy and threat. They agreed not to allow their soils to be used for anti-state activities against each other.