Army Chief leaves for one-day Kabul visit

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ISLAMABAD – Army chief General Raheel Sharif on Sunday left for one-day Kabul visit to hold talks with top Afghan civil and military leaders.

Afghanistan sees Pakistan s support as vital to resuming a stalled peace dialogue with the Taliban and recently both countries have expressed resolve to work together in this regard.

“Army chief will hold meetings with political and military leadership of Afghanistan,” Pakistan army spokesman Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa said on Twitter.

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani travelled to Pakistan this month to open a conference that shored up international support for Taliban talks.

At the Islamabad conference, Ghani and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed commitment to the peace process, with the United States and China also offering support.

“The visit by the army chief to Kabul is a follow up of commitments made by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani towards Afghan peace at the Heart of Asia conference in Islamabad,” said security analyst Imtiaz Gul.

Gul said that the resumption of dialogue with the Taliban, action against Haqqani network and other militant groups, as well as peaceful border management were likely to be discussed during talks between General Sharif, not related to Premier Sharif, and top Afghan leaders.

During Nawaz Sharif s trip to the US in October President Barack Obama stressed that Pakistan needed to take action against groups that undermine peaceful dialogue.

Pakistan, which wields considerable influence over the Taliban, hosted a milestone first round of peace negotiations in July. But the talks stalled when the Taliban belatedly confirmed the death of longtime leader Mullah Omar, sparking a power struggle within the movement.

2015-12-27

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