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Afghan President arrived in Pakistan

27 June, 2019

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ISLAMABAD: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday arrived in Pakistan for a two-day visit aimed at strengthening ties between the two countries.

Upon arrival, Ghani was received by Adviser to PM for Commerce, Textile and Industry Production Abdul Razak Dawood.

The visit comes less than a week after Pakistan hosted dozens of Afghan politicians to discuss ways to end an 18-year-long war in its neighbouring country.

Ghani along with his ministers, advisers and a business delegation was invited for the visit by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

President Ghani will also travel to Lahore during the visit, which is his third tour to Pakistan since 2014, as efforts have intensified to reach a political settlement and end decades of war in Afghanistan.

The delegation-level talks between the two sides would focus on strengthening bilateral cooperation in diverse areas including political, trade, economic, security, peace and reconciliation, education and people-to-people exchanges, said Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Wednesday.

President Ghani earlier this year had accused Pakistan of meddling in internal politics of Afghanistan. He said the keys to the war were in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, where its government and military were based, and Quetta, the alleged hideout of a key group of Taliban leaders. Pakistani officials deny supporting the Taliban and say Islamabad favours a political settlement to maintain stability in Afghanistan, but Afghan officials remain cautious.

Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Atif Mashal said the visit would open a new chapter in relations, citing high-level exchanges over the past six months.

Mashal told a group of reporters in Islamabad that the talks would focus on key issues, including peace process, security, anti-terrorism cooperation, trade and transit.

He endorsed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s agenda to fight poverty in the region and that Afghanistan could be a partner in such efforts.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office said President Ghani would be accompanied by a high-level delegation, including ministers, advisors, senior officials and businessmen.

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