Afghanistan, Pakistan discuss deescalate border tensions, peace

Pakistani premier gets red-carpet welcome by Afghan president in Kabul despite tense bilateral ties
KABUL, Afghanistan: Pakistani premier made a breakthrough visit to capital Kabul on Friday where he discussed an “action plan for peace and reconciliation” with Afghan leaders, according to an official statement.
Despite tense ties between the two countries amid allegations of cross-border terrorism, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was given a red-carpet welcome by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on arrival at the presidential palace.
Ghani pronounced peace and stability in Afghanistan as a key factor for regional stability, adding that the leadership in Pakistan and Afghanistan could play decisive role in shaping the future.
“It was decided [in the meeting] that the national security advisers of the two countries and the ministers of foreign affairs would finalize an ‘action plan for peace and reconciliation’,” the statement from the presidential palace read.
It added the two sides also discussed issues linked to the repatriation of Afghan refugees, alleged shelling from Pakistani side on Afghan villages near the Durand Line, connectivity for trade and rail-links.
Local Tolo News added the two sides also discussed Quetta-Kandahar-Herat and Peshawar-Jalalabad railroad projects and the construction of Peshawar-Jalalabad highway.
On Feb. 28, Ghani announced an unconditional peace talks offer to Afghan Taliban. He had also invited Pakistan to forget the past and begin a new era of bilateral ties to bring peace in the region.
Pakistan had brokered the first round of direct talks between the fragile Afghan government and Taliban in Pakistani capital Islamabad in July 2015.
Since then, several attempts have been made, with little success, to resume the stalled peace process by a four-nation group comprising of Pakistan, Afghanistan, the U.S. and China.–AA

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