Pakistan, US top commanders support Afghan reconciliation

Islamabad, Jan 16 (IANS) US Central Command (CENTCOM) chief General Joseph Votel and Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday pledged to support “inclusive reconciliation” in Afghanistan through an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led process.

The CENTCOM chief, who arrived in Pakistan for a visit, discussed matters of mutual professional interest with special focus on security situation in Afghanistan, the Pakistan Army said in a statement.

“Pakistan supports and looks forward to an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process,” General Bajwa told the US commander.

With reference to recent terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and follow up rhetoric from certain factions implicating Pakistan, he said that blame game was detrimental to enduring peace and stability.

“The army chief highlighted that Pakistan has undertaken operations against terrorists of all hue and colour and there are no safe havens inside Pakistan to be used against Afghanistan,” said the statement.

The Pakistani General was referring to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s statement that stated: “Those who recently launched attacks in Afghanistan lived, were recruited and operated freely in Pakistan and no action was taken against them.”

General Bajwa expressed his commitment to work in close coordination with Afghanistan and US’s Resolute Support Mission for improved security environment in Pakistan-Afghan border region.

In this regard, he emphasised requirement of Pakistan-Afghan bilateral border security and intelligence sharing mechanisms, statement from the Inter-Services Public Relations said.

Bajwa also highlighted the importance of Pakistan accords to its relations with the US, particularly cooperation in counter-terrorism and regional stability.

General Votel acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan Army’s successes in fight against terrorism and continued efforts for bringing peace and stability in the region.

He supported the views of the Pakistan Army chief on inclusive reconciliation in Afghanistan through an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led process.

The US General laid a floral wreath at “Yadgar-e-Shuhada” (martyrs monument) to pay homage to martyrs of the anti-terror war.