ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday said that Pakistan will always support “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned” peace process based on mutual consensus of all stakeholders, according to a statement issued by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).
He expressed these views during a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during his day-long official visit to Kabul, according to the military’s media wing. Chief of the Defence Staff UK General Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter was also present in the meeting, it added.
“Matters of mutual interest, current developments in Afghan peace process, enhanced bilateral security and defence cooperation and need for effective border management between the two brotherly countries were discussed.”
The COAS reiterated that a peaceful Afghanistan means a peaceful region in general and a peaceful Pakistan in particular. “We will always support ‘Afghan-led, Afghan-owned’ peace process based on mutual consensus of all stakeholders,” the army chief added.
President Ghani thanked the army chief for a meaningful discussion and appreciated Pakistan’s sincere and positive role in the Afghan peace process.
Later, General Qamar also called on Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation of Afghanistan Dr Abdullah Abdullah and discussed matters related to the peace process.
Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lieutenant General Faiz Hamid accompanied the COAS during the visit.
Violence has risen starkly in Afghanistan in recent weeks with the Taliban launching attacks throughout the country and a huge unclaimed attack taking place on a school in Kabul on Saturday that killed dozens of students.
Washington and other Western powers, in recent years, have acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts to push the militant group to take part in peace talks.
Taliban and diplomatic sources told Reuters that Pakistan has been negotiating in recent weeks with insurgents to try and get them to commit to a ceasefire, agree to an extension of the US-Taliban agreement which stipulated forces should withdraw by May, and to continue to take part in peace talks at a planned conference in Turkey.
The Taliban announced on Sunday night that they would commit to a three-day ceasefire for Eidul Fitr later this week.
NNI adds: Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) United Kingdom (UK) General Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter on Monday called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and discussed developments in the Afghan peace process, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) reported.
According to the ISPR, matters of mutual interest, regional security situation particularly current developments in the Afghan Peace Process, and measures to further enhance bilateral and defence cooperation were discussed during the meeting.
COAS Qamar Javed Bajwa also offered condolences on the sad demise of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and said that the world has lost a highly respected friend.
General Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter appreciated Pakistan’s sincere efforts for peace and stability in the region, especially the Afghan Peace Process.
The COAS thanked the dignitary for UK’s contribution towards fight against COVID-19 in Pakistan and said that Pakistan Army greatly values its friendly relations with the UK.
COAS Qamar Bajwa has returned from Saudi Arabia recently, where he called on Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud during his official visit.
According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army chief also met Saudi Deputy Defence Minister Prince Khalid Bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.
During the meetings, the military’s media wing said, matters of mutual interest, regional security situation including recent developments in the Afghan peace process, bilateral defence, security, collaboration for regional peace and connectivity were discussed.
“Pakistan is resolute in its commitment to safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of KSA and defence of the two Holy Mosques,” the ISPR quoted COAS as saying.
It said the Crown Prince acknowledged Pakistan’s role towards regional peace and stability.