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Afghanistan, Pakistan Seek To Improve Ties

  • RFE/RL

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (left) walks with Sartaj Aziz, the Pakistani prime minister's adviser on foreign affairs, after arriving at Chaklala air base in Rawalpindi on November 14.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (left) walks with Sartaj Aziz, the Pakistani prime minister's adviser on foreign affairs, after arriving at Chaklala air base in Rawalpindi on November 14.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has visited Pakistan's military headquarters in a sign of warming relations.

Ghani visited the army headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi on November 14, paying his respects at the monument to Pakistan's fallen soldiers and meeting with Pakistani military chief General Raheel Sharif.

Accompanied by the Afghan defense minister, army chief, and other top officials, Ghani was given a briefing on the security situation along the Afghan border.

The Pakistani army said the Afghan president praised its efforts to fight terrorism and expressed his desire to bolster security and defense ties with Islamabad, including training and border management.

A tweet from Pakistani Major General Asim Bajwa, the military's chief spokesman, said: "Security, stability a shared goal. Our security inextricably linked."

Ghani, who is on a his first visit to Islamabad since taking office in September, earlier on November 14 discussed with Pakistani Finance Minister Ishaq Dar ways to promote cooperation in economic and trade relations.

The Afghan president's office in Kabul said the two set a goal of doubling bilateral trade to $5 billion within two years.

Ghani is scheduled to meet Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on November 15.

Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said discussions between Ghani and Sharif would be wide-ranging.

"Peace and stability, everything to do with bilateral cooperation, political engagement, economic cooperation, the training program -- everything is on the table," Aslam said.

The pair is also expected to watch a cricket match between the two countries.

Mutual suspicion has haunted relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Ghani's predecessor, Hamid Karzai, repeatedly accused Pakistan of providing support for Taliban fighters and other militants who have used Pakistan's tribal regions as a base for attacks targeting Afghan and NATO forces.

Islamabad has rejected the claim and accused Afghanistan of failing to stop cross-border attacks.

Tensions were highlighted last week by a Pentagon report that accused Pakistan of continuing to use "proxy forces" to destabilize Afghanistan.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, dawn.com, and radio.gov.pk
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