Afghanistan accepts Pakistan’s offer of ‘coordinated’ anti-terror operations

Afghanistan accepts Pakistan’s offer of ‘coordinated’ anti-terror operations

SAM Staff,
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (right) shakes hands with the US Senator John McCain at Prime minister’s House in Islamabad. AFP

Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to conduct “coordinated, complementary” security operations against terrorist groups on their respective sides of the shared border, officials confirmed Wednesday.

A high-powered U.S. bipartisan congressional delegation led by Senator John McCain mediated the deal during its visit this week to Islamabad and Kabul.

“The [U.S.] Senators said that the head of Pakistan’s armed forces, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, agreed to joint operations against terrorist groups in the Durand Line region,” said an Afghan statement after Tuesday’s talks between President Ashraf Ghani and the U.S. delegation.

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“They said that the U.S. would provide monitoring and verification of these operations,” the statement quoted McCain’s delegation as saying, while sharing the Pakistani proposal with Ghani.

The nearly 2,600-kilometer, largely-porous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is called the Durand Line. Both countries regularly accuse each other of not doing enough on their respective sides to stop terrorist infiltration. The allegations are blamed for deep mutual mistrust and strained bilateral ties.

“The Afghan government has welcomed the [Pakistani] proposal and a mechanism to undertake these simultaneous joint operations will be developed by our defense and security forces,” Afghan presidential spokesman Dawa Khan Meenapal told VOA on Wednesday.

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Pakistan military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor, when contacted by VOA, confirmed the security deal with Afghan counterparts. However, he dismissed the reported impression that Afghan forces would be allowed to step on Pakistani soil.

“There is no concept of joint operations [on Pakistani soil]. Pakistan does not and will not allow foreign boots on the ground,” said General Ghafoor.