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Nawaz, Ghani meet, agree to continue dialogue

ASTANA: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani have agreed to use the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) as well as bilateral channels to undertake specific actions against terror groups and evolve a mechanism to monitor and verify such actions.

In their meeting on Friday on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, the two leaders agreed that the QCG would be used to promote peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, a statement issued by the PM’s House read.

On June 6, Ghani had accused Pakistan of waging an “undeclared war of aggression” against his country. “What will it take to convince Pakistan that a stable Afghanistan helps them and helps our region,” Ghani was reported as saying during the Kabul Process conference.

Sharif stressed the importance of reconciliation and a politically negotiated settlement as the best solution to the Afghan conflict. In this context, he highlighted the serious efforts undertaken by Pakistan for facilitating an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led process, it added.

The premier reiterated that terrorism remained a common threat to both Pakistan and Afghanistan, saying Pakistan and its forces were valiantly fighting the menace of terrorism. “Pakistan has rendered immense human and economic sacrifices in the struggle in recent years,” he added.

“Close cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan,” he noted, “is important for eliminating the scourge of terrorism from our region.”

Sharif joined Ghani in condemning the recent terror attacks in Afghanistan, particularly a truck bomb blast in center of Kabul last week that killed at least 150 people and injured hundreds of others.

The prime minister reiterated that Pakistan remained committed to peace and stability in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s efforts for peace, stability and economic progress of Afghanistan are a matter of its commitment to the brotherly people of Afghanistan, millions of whom have been hosted in Pakistan for the past 37 years.

The recent attack in the diplomatic enclave in Kabul has strained relations between the two counties despite the top civil and military leadership in Islamabad condemning the blast and offering assistance in dealing with militancy.

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Mian Bilal

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