COAS arrives in Kabul to attend Chief of Defence Conference

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The two-day conference concluded with the agreement to continue cooperation for regional peace and stability.

A meeting between the Chief of Staff of the Afghanistan National Army, the Pakistan army, Uzbekistan's army and Kazakhstan's army, along with the Commander of Resolute Support Mission Gen. John Nicholson, was held on Tuesday in Kabul.

The COAS said that regions develop as a whole and not as individual countries.

Addressing the conference, General Bajwa said that Pakistan has eradicated all terrorist sanctuaries from its soil. He said collaborative approach and persistence is the answer to all challenges, for which Pakistan is ready to play its part.

The COAS assured the defence officials in attendance that Pakistan does not allow its territory to be used against any other country and "expects the same in reciprocity".

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This was the army chief's second visit to Kabul in four months. The first round was held in Kabul on Feb 3, following the deadliest Taliban-claimed attacks in Kabul on Jan 20 and Jan 27 which killed almost 125 people and injured over 250. After the string of Taliban attacks in recent weeks, Trump angrily condemned the group.

Shedding light on the meeting, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif had stressed the need to resolve Pak-Afghan issues bilaterally and said Pakistan "stands with its Afghan brothers in this hour of grief", referring to the recent spate of bomb-and-gun attacks in Kabul which claimed almost 200 lives. After Trump's comments, his deputy secretary of state said an "Afghan-led" negotiation with the Taliban remained U.S. policy, and analysts suggest that elements of the military may be softening in their refusal to engage with the Taliban directly.

Last week, the Afghan deputy foreign minister led a delegation of senior civilian and military officials to Islamabad for crucial talks on enhancing cooperation between the two countries.

A more aggressive American strategy in Afghanistan including a surge in air strikes introduced by President Donald Trump in August previous year has pushed the Taliban back from several district centres and two provincial capitals. Ms Janjua had condemned terrorist attacks in Kabul and offered joint investigations. There was no word either when the next round of talks would take place.

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