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Afghanistan, Pakistan Renew Push For Cooperation Against Terrorism

A Pakistani Army soldier stands guard along a border fence at the Afghan border near the Punjpai area of Quetta in Balochistan Province.
A Pakistani Army soldier stands guard along a border fence at the Afghan border near the Punjpai area of Quetta in Balochistan Province.

Amid heightened tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan, senior military and intelligence officials from the two neighbors have agreed to enhance joint efforts to fight against terrorism, the Pakistani military says.

A Pakistani Army statement early on May 28 said the two sides reached the understanding at talks the previous day at Pakistani Army headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.

"The two sides agreed to fast-track the formulation of working groups, especially on bilateral security cooperation, and to undertake measures that would assist both sides in reduction of violence at the hands of terrorists," the statement said.

"We must begin with the trust that neither covets an inch of the other's territory nor is letting its land being used against the other," it quoted Pakistan's army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, as telling the Afghan delegation.

"Suspicions will only fuel negativity and facilitate detractors," Bajwa added.

The Afghan delegation was led by Hanif Atmar, the Afghan president's national security adviser, and also included intelligence chief Masoom Stanekzai and Interior Minister Wais Barmak.

Atmar said that with mutual help, Afghanistan and Pakistan "can allay each other's concerns and apply our energies to bring about enduring peace and stability," according to the Pakistani statement.

The talks came as Afghanistan and the United States have been increasing pressure on Pakistan to take action against militants operating in the country.

Pakistan is accused of harboring militant groups, including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network, which carry out attacks in Afghanistan. Islamabad denies the charge.

Afghan and Pakistani officials were also expected to discuss a series of deadly clashes in recent months along their disputed border.

In April, fighting broke out between Pakistani paramilitary troops and Afghan border police in three locations along the border, leaving several dead on both sides.

The two countries share a 2,500-kilometer border known as the Durand Line, which Pakistan considers to be an international border. Afghanistan rejects the colonial-era border that was created in 1893.

With reporting by AP
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