‘Pakistan agrees to joint raids on both sides of Durand Line’

Pakistan-installing-barbed-wire-in-Durand-Line-498x340KABUL: A visiting US senate delegation on Tuesday said Pakistan had agreed to participating in joint military operations against militant groups on both sides of the Durand Line under the US watch.

The delegation, members of the influential Senate Committee on Armed Services, arrived in Kabul on Tuesday from Pakistan where they held talks with senior civil and military officials.

In Pakistan, the delegation led by John McCain, toured the tribal region of Waziristan with the country’s military chief and praised the military advances against militants.

The US senators who met President Ashraf Ghani at the Presidential Palace said the Pakistani military had agreed to taking part in joint operations against militants on both sides of the Durand Line and the US would work for the move’s confirmation and monitoring.

A statement from the President Palace said the president met the US delegation and both the sides discussed expansion in bilateral cooperation in the fight against terrorism. Regional issues were also discussed at the meeting, the statement said.

It quoted President Ghani as praising American support with Afghanistan and said their relations were based on mutual interest and respect.

He said the ongoing war in Afghanistan was not its own but it had been imposed on the country from outside.

The US lawmakers said Pakistan Army Chief Gen. Qamar Bajwa had agreed to joint operations against terrorist groups on both sides of the Durand Line.

They said the US would pave the way for confirmation and monitoring of the operations. The statement has no further details about the proposed operations.

President Ghani said the peace they wished was costly and similarly reforms were crucial and needed resources.

The president said the ongoing development in Afghanistan would never reverse. About the reforms in the Ministry of Defense, the president said 150 senior generals were sent home on pension and a new defense minister had been appointed.

He said further changes had been brought to the Ministry of Defense, resulting in improved capabilities in military operations.

He said reforms at the Ministry of Interior had reshaped the institution, calling continued American assistance in bringing about reforms to Afghan institutes as essential.

The president sand the parliamentary elections would be held next year and the exercise would be monitored by the civil society.

He also mentioned a series of agreements with regional countries on railways lines, roads, air corridor with India, Chabahar Port in Iran.

The American delegation comes to Kabul at a time when the US government is giving final touches to its Afghanistan policy including sending thousands more troops to the country and assessing the country’s relations with its neighbors.

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