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Afghan President Makes Rare Phone Call To Pakistani PM


Afghan President Ashraf Ghani addresses a Loya Jirga in Kabul on April 29

ISLAMABAD -- Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani telephoned Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on May 5 and the two leaders discussed ongoing Afghan peace efforts, security, and bilateral economic cooperation.

Afghan and Pakistani officials said Ghani accepted Khan’s invitation to visit Islamabad “for a comprehensive exchange of views on all issues of mutual interest.”

An official statement issued in Islamabad quoted the Pakistani leader as noting the prolonged Afghan conflict had damaged Afghanistan and “adversely affected” his country.

“For the sake of the two peoples, the aim of the leadership should be to help build peace, promote economic progress, and advance connectivity for regional prosperity,” Khan said.

He emphasized that Pakistan will spare no effort to advance the common objectives of building peace in Afghanistan and having a fruitful bilateral relationship between the two brotherly countries, the statement said.

Relations between Islamabad and Kabul are marred by years of suspicion and mistrust over mutual allegations of harboring militants waging attacks in both countries.

Pakistan takes credit for arranging ongoing talks between the United States and the Taliban insurgency, hoping it would lead to ending decades of hostilities in Afghanistan.

Insurgent leaders have allegedly used Pakistan for sustaining and expanding the Afghan insurgency. Islamabad rejects the charges, citing its successful counter-militancy operations and construction of a robust fence, as well as new security outposts on the traditionally porous Afghan border to stop illegal infiltration in either direction.

-- Voice Of America

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