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Will do whatever possible to reduce unrest: Imran

Will do whatever possible to reduce unrest: Imran

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Nov 19, 2020 - 17:52

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Pakistaninfo-icon Prime Minister Imran Khan, who arrived on his first visit to Kabul, on Thursday said that Pakistan will do whatever is possible to help reduce violence in Afghanistaninfo-icon and establish durable peace.

Addressing a joint press conference alongside President Ashraf Ghani at the Presidential Palace, the Pakistani premier said that the two countries have historical links.

"The idea of visiting at a time when violence is increasing [in Afghanistan] is to assure you, President Ghani, that the people and the government of Pakistan have only one concern; peace in Afghanistan.

"The Afghan people have suffered for four decades," he said. The premier also noted that despite the role Pakistan has played in getting the Talibaninfo-icon to speak with Americans and with regards to intra-Afghan dialogue, the level of violence has risen in Afghanistan.

Assuring the Afghan leadership that Pakistan will play its part in reducing violence in the country, he said: "If you feel there is somewhere Pakistan can help [in reducing violence], please let us know.

"The only way to help people on both sides of the border is by peace, trade and connectivity," he said.

For his part, President Ghani said Afghanistan and Pakistan should respect each other and reach a joint understanding to accelerate efforts for peace and stability.

Ghani said: “Afghanistan has been striving for durable ceasefire and the continuation of violence is not a response to the current situation. Afghanistan and Pakistan need to envisage a joint vision of cooperation.”

Imran Khan said that the purpose of his visit was to build trust and improve bilateral relationship.  He said Pakistan and Afghanistan should encourage the Taliban to come to talks.

Imran Khan was accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Director General of the Inter-Services Intelligence Lt Gen Faiz Hamid, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mehmood, Adviser on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood, Special Representative for Afghanistan Muhammad Sadiq and other senior officials.

He was received by Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar and Afghan President's Special Representative for Pakistan Mohammad Umer Daudzai on his arrival in the country's capital.

Later Prime Minister Imran was presented a guard of honour at the presidential palace.

Meanwhile, a delegation-level meeting was held between officials of Pakistan and Afghanistan in which both sides discussed Afghan peace process, bilateral relations, regional security situation and other matters of mutual interest.

The Pakistani delegation included Foreign Minister Qureshi as well as prime minister's adviser Dawood, Foreign Secretary Mehmood and Special Representative for Afghanistan Sadiq.

Qureshi thanked Atmar for the warm welcome by the Afghan government and noted that both countries share a "traditional and historic relationship".

"The success of intra-Afghan dialogue is unavoidable for the establishment of lasting peace in Afghanistan," Qureshi said. He added that Pakistan wanted Afghan refugees to return to their country in a "dignified" manner.

The visit comes days after the Pentagon announced it would reduce the number of United States military personnel in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500 by mid-January.

nh/ma

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