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Sharif Says Peaceful Afghanistan In Pakistan's National Interest

  • RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (left) and Pakistani army chief General Raheel Sharif offering prayers at a Pakistani war memorial in Islamabad on November 14.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (left) and Pakistani army chief General Raheel Sharif offering prayers at a Pakistani war memorial in Islamabad on November 14.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has pledged support to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in attempts to bring peace to Afghanistan.

Sharif said after talks in Islamabad with Ghani on November 15 that a "peaceful, stable, united, and prosperous" Afghanistan is in Pakistan's national interest.

"Our security and future prosperity remain interlinked," Sharif added. "I have consistently emphasized Pakistan's [utmost] priority of building a peaceful neighborhood and as fundamental element I have a vision of a strong, comprehensive, and enduring partnership between Pakistan and Afghanistan."

Ghani has called for the Taliban and other Islamic militant groups in Afghanistan to join in peace talks.

Ghani's predecessor, Hamid Karzai, had often accused Pakistan of allowing the Taliban and other militant groups to carry out attacks against Afghanistan from bases in Pakistan.

Ghani called for a joint effort in the fight against terrorism in both countries, saying that instability in either country would negatively affect the other.

Sharif also said the two countries hope to form a "robust economic partnership" by expanding trade and investment and improving infrastructure.

Ghani said he hoped that Pakistan and Afghanistan could "serve as the heart of Asia" and to help the economic integration of Central and Southeastern Asia.

He added that "enormous steps" had been made to resolve economic problems between the two countries, saying: "We've overcome obstacles of 13 years in three days."

Ghani is on the second and final day of his visit to Pakistan, his first trip there since becoming president in late September.

"We agreed on as a shared vision where Pakistan and Afghanistan would serve as the part of Asia to ensure that economic integration in Asia becomes a reality and does not remain a dream," Ghani said. "And today we've taken fundamental steps to ensure that South Asia connects with Central Asia and Central Asia connects to South Asia."

He met with Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain and several of his advisers, as well as with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on November 14.

Ghani also visited Pakistan's military headquarters in Rawalpindi and met with Pakistani military chief General Raheel Sharif.

Sharif and Ghani are due on November 15 to watch a cricket match between Afghan and Pakistani teams.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghansitan, AP, Reuters, and AFP
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