Pakistan Afghanistan top military officials take unprecedented steps

Pakistan Afghanistan top military officials take unprecedented steps

ISLAMABAD: Operations chiefs of Pakistani and Afghan militaries held talks in Pakistan on Sunday to review progress on security cooperation, appointment of liaison officers and establishment of coordination centres along the border, sources privy to the meeting said.

Director generals military operations of the two countries met amid growing interaction between the military officials in recent months to finalise deployment of liaison officers (LOs), establishment of Ground Coordination Centres (GCCs) for intelligence sharing and to monitor cross-border movement of militants, people familiar with the discussions told Daily Times.

LOs would share intelligence about suspects to the host country and would accompany intelligence officials during raids against suspects.

GCCs will be established at Torkham and Chaman, the main crossing points in the first phase, and more will be put in place at a later stage along other border points.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are in the process to finalise joint working groups on ‘Military to Military Coordination and Intelligence Cooperation’ under the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Security (APAPPS) that provides a framework to deepen interaction in all spheres of bilateral engagements.

Members for the groups are likely to be finalised this month.

The development came ahead of the visit of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa this week at the invitation of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. This will be General Bajwa’s second meeting with the Afghan president in nine months. The army chief last visited Kabul in October that was seen as a breakthrough in revival of high-level exchanges.

Afghan DGMO Najibullah Alizai led his side in talks with his Pakistani counterparts, sources said.

Reconciliation in Afghanistan is now one of the key aspects of the Pak-Afghan security officials as was agreed during the talks between General Qamar Javed Bajwa and a high level Afghan delegation led by National Security Adviser Haneef Atmar in Rawalpindi last month.

Although Pakistan insists reconciliation is an Afghan affair and a shared responsibility, Kabul and US officials believe Pakistan is a key to encourage the Taliban to join the intra-Afghan dialogue.