Pakistan, Afghanistan agree to bridge trust deficit

Islamabad, Sep 5 (IANS) Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to restore trust and end the blame game, Pakistan’s top security adviser said on Saturday after holding talks with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul.

Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan had been tense over the past few weeks following the Taliban attacks in Kabul that also led to the cancellation of the Pakistan-brokered peace talks.

Sartaj Aziz, adviser to the prime minister on national security and foreign affairs, had bilateral meetings on Friday on the sidelines of the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan, which were focused on ways to reduce tensions and work for restoration of mutual trust.

“I have held a one-and-half hour meeting with President Ashraf Ghani and we agreed to restore the trust, reduce the blame game and pointing finger at each other and to maintain a positive environment,” Aziz told Pakistan’s state television on return from Kabul.

“We will work on a memorandum of trust building to review the factors that caused tensions and to avoid any such thing in the future,” he told PTV in an interview.

Aziz said the two sides also decided to hold intensive discussions to explore what steps should be taken for the restoration of peace in Afghanistan and what role Pakistan can play.

“We agreed to do something to achieve this objective,” Aziz said.

As for the revival of the stalled Afghan peace process, he said Pakistan and Afghanistan will discuss the issue in the next round of talks as the current situation is very confused.

Pakistan hosted representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban in the first ever direct talks on July 7 and the second round scheduled to be held on July 31 was postponed due to Mullah Omar’s death confirmation.

“The Taliban are in the process of transition and Pakistan and Afghanistan will also have to discuss certain issues,” he said, adding that all agreed that there would be no durable peace without the peace process.

Aziz disclosed that the Afghan finance minister will visit Pakistan in the first week of November.

This visit was postponed last month apparently in view of the tensions.

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