Premier, Afghan President vow to take steps for peace in region

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Afghanistan resolved to make efforts to benefit from their geographic location to enhance regional connectivity and realise their true economic potential for socio-economic development, alleviation of poverty and welfare of people.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani made a phone call to Prime Minister Imran Khan and the two leaders exchanged views on matters relating to peace, security and prosperity in Afghanistan and the region, a statement released by the PM Office said.

The two leaders vowed to strengthen bilateral ties and restore peace in Afghanistan and the region.

The two leaders discuss measures to reduce poverty

Prime Minister Khan said that for the sake of the people of the two countries, the aim of the leadership should be to help build peace, promote economic activities and advance connectivity for regional prosperity.

The prime minister said that the spirit of brotherhood defined Pakistan’s approach towards Afghanistan. “The prolonged Afghan conflict has damaged Afghanistan and adversely affected Pakistan over the past many decades,” he was quoted as saying.

PM Khan reiterated his vision for finding a peaceful solution to Afghan conflict, fully owned and led by Afghans themselves. He assured President Ghani that Pakistan would spare no effort to advance the common objectives of building peace in Afghanistan and having a fruitful bilateral relationship between the two brotherly countries.

Prime Minister Khan reiterated his invitation to President Ghani to visit Pakistan for a comprehensive exchange of views on all issues of mutual interest. Dates for the visit would be decided though mutual consultations.

The latest interaction between PM Khan and President Ghani came four days after a terrorist attack from Afghanistan side that claimed lives of three Pakistani soldiers who were erecting fence on the border.

Seven other Pakistani soldiers were injured when a group of 60 to 70 terrorists from bases in Afghanistan attacked Pakistan Army troops in the Alwara area of North Waziristan tribal district on May 1.

Pakistani troops effectively responded and repulsed the attack, killing and injuring scores of terrorists.

Islamabad believes that while Pakistan security forces are solidifying border security through fencing and construction of forts to deny liberty of action to terrorists, Afghan security forces and authorities need to have more effective control in the border region to support Pakistan’s efforts and deny use of Afghan soil against Pakistan.

Pakistan has been erecting a fence along its western border to stop illegal influx of terrorists and smugglers from Afghanistan who often use unfrequented routes to enter Pakistan. However, the government in Kabul has been opposing the move.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations, so far, fencing over a distance of 1,000km along the borders with Afghanistan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan has been completed and work on the rest is under way. A total of 823 border forts have been planned, out of which 300 have been constructed so far. Work on the remaining posts is under way and will be completed soon.