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Pakistan's Army Chief Holds Talks In Kabul

Pakistani army chief General Raheel Sharif (right) pictured in 2013.
Pakistani army chief General Raheel Sharif (right) pictured in 2013.

Pakistan's army chief has held talks in Kabul with top Afghan officials as part of new efforts to revive talks between the Afghan government and the extremist Taliban militant group.

General Raheel Sharif met in Kabul on December 27 with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah.

Abdullah's deputy spokesman Jawed Faisal told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan that "the officials discussed the Afghan peace progress, mutual interests, and security."

He added that "the discussions were fruitful" but gave no further details on the talks.

Pakistani military spokesman Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa said earlier that General Sharif was going to Afghanistan with "sincerity and optimism" in order to achieve better border management and to discuss the Afghan peace process.

New Peace Momentum

The top Pakistani commander's visit comes some two weeks after a regional conference in Islamabad called for the resumption of Afghan-Taliban peace negotiations.

The December 9 conference, which brought together officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States, and China, was attended by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Tolo News reported that during the December 9 conference Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif agreed to act against insurgents operating on Pakistani soil in a bid to destabilize Afghanistan.

Ghani, in turn, agreed that Kabul will act against Pakistani Taliban, which are believed to be active in eastern parts of Afghanistan.

The Taliban leadership is based in Pakistan and Pakistan’s military has long been accused by Afghan officials of backing the insurgents as a proxy for its interests in Afghanistan, a charge Islamabad denies.

Talks between Taliban officials and Kabul were frozen in July when Afghanistan announced the death of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar.

Based on reporting by Radio Free Afghanistan, AP, and
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