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Afghanistan, Pakistan Set Up Hotline Between Military Commanders

 General Raheel Sharif during a recent visit to Kabul.
General Raheel Sharif during a recent visit to Kabul.

The Pakistani military says Pakistan and Afghanistan have established a direct line between their respective military commanders and made first contact on December 30.

"Hot line established between DGMOs (Director Generals of military operations) of both countries. First contact/call just made," Pakistan Army spokesman Asim Bajwa announced via Twitter.

Bajwa said the hotline was agreed during a recent visit to Kabul by Pakistan's powerful army chief General Raheel Sharif.

Pakistani media previously reported that the two countries had decided in 2011 to set up a military "hotline" in an effort to ease tensions triggered by cross-border raids and mortar shelling incidents but it hadn't materialized.

The army chief's visit followed talks between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over recent weeks that sought to renew peace negotiations between Kabul and the Taliban.

Pakistan hosted the first round of talks in July but the process was stalled when the Taliban belatedly confirmed the death of longtime leader Mullah Omar.

Based on tweets by @AsimBajwal and reporting by AFP