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Ashraf Ghani rejected Pakistan invitation

04 May, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: Afghan officials have shared details with the media of the meeting between the ISI Chief Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar and President Ashraf Ghani and a presidential spokesman has said President Ghani has "rejected invitation to visit Pakistan."

However reports suggest that the Afghan Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah has hinted at visiting Pakistan very soon. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had extended to Dr Abdullah last year.

The BBC quoted deputy presidential spokesman Dawa Khan Menapal as saying that "President Ghani would not travel to Islamabad until Pakistan hands over those responsible for attacks in Mazar-e-Sharif, American university in Kabul and the governor house in Kandahar."

Nearly 140 security personnel were killed in the deadliest Taliban-claimed attack on the major military base in Mazar-e-Sharif last month.

The UAE ambassador and five other diplomats were killed in a blast inside the highly-secured Kandahar governor house in January. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.

Kandahar police chief Gen Abdul Raziq had blamed the Haqqani network and the National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar alleged the attack was planned outside Afghanistan.

However, the Afghan Pajhwok news agency had reported that the Dubai police deputy chief, Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim, dismissed the Afghan security officials' claims and held the Afghan officials directly responsible for the incident.

The UAE officials had reportedly sought clarification from Gen Raziq as to how explosives were taken inside a heavily-guarded governor's guest house.

Both the Mazar-e-Sharif and Kandahar attacks were carried out with the help of the insider support, according to the Afghan officials.

In August last year Taliban militants attacked the American university in Kabul and killed at least 14 people.

Pakistan has not yet commented on the visit of the ISI chief to Kabul that was followed by high level military and parliamentary delegations. However, Afghan officials provided details to section of the Afghan media about the discussions between President Ghani and ISI chief.

An unnamed official told Radio Azadi that the president had stated that "relations will not become normal unless Pakistan takes steps on the demands made by the Afghan government."

"The President has told the Pakistani intelligence chief that visits would be meaningful if violence is reduced in Afghanistan in a month and Pakistan honours its commitments with the Afghan government," a credible source told the BBC Pashto service.

Pajhwok news agency reported that Ghani told the ISI chief he "could not trust Pakistan until it adopted practical steps to meet Afghanistan's longstanding demands to rein in terrorists on its soil who conducted incursions in the war-torn country."

The Afghan government also asked for action against the 84 Taliban leaders, whose list has already been provided to Pakistani authorities.

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