Amid deteriorating ties, Afghan Ambassador holds important meeting with COAS in GHQ

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RAWALPINDI - Omar Zakhilwal, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan, met with Pakistan’s army chief Gen. Qamar Bajwa on Thursday morning to discuss a range of issues including bilateral relations.

In a message posted on Twitter, Zakhilwal said: “This morning met with Pak Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa for a comprehensive discussion on a range of important issues including current state of bilateral relations and ways and steps that would help improve mutual trust and the environment for peace and prosperity for both our nations.”

This comes amid increased pressure on Pakistan by the United States to eliminate insurgency and stop providing safe havens to militants.

Earlier this month Pakistan's army chief told a top US general that his nation feels "betrayed" by US criticism that it is not doing enough to fight terrorism - which prompted Washington to suspend military aid for Islamabad.

The Pakistani military said in a statement on January 12 that Bajwa told US Central Command chief General Joseph Votel in a phone conversation that the "entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed over US recent statements despite decades of cooperation."

Bajwa told Votel that Pakistan will not seek to restore US military aid, but it does "expect honorable recognition of our contributions, sacrifices and unwavering resolve in the fight against terrorism," the statement said.

US President Donald Trump on January 1 accused Pakistan of "lies and deceit" and said the United States would suspend around $2 billion USD a year in military aid until Islamabad moves decisively against Afghan Taliban and Haqqani Network militants who he said have found safe haven within Pakistan's borders.

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