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Pakistan raises issue of ‘terrorist sanctuaries’ with Afghan officials

Islamabad : The Pakistani army Thursday raised with top Afghan defence and intelligence officials the issue of “terrorist sanctuaries” in eastern Kunar and Nuristan provinces of Afghanistan and attacks on Pakistani border villages and posts from these sanctuaries.

Senior Pakistani and Afghan military officials met in the Pakistani garrison city of Rawalpindi and discussed important security issues, with special focus on border management and cooperation in Pakistan’s current major military operation in North Waziristan tribal region, Xinhua reported.

“The issue of cross-border shelling also came under discussion. The Afghan delegation was told that Pakistan only fires back in self-defence when Pakistani border posts are physically attacked or fired upon by terrorists from Afghan territory and no indiscriminate firing is carried out,” a Pakistani military statement said.

Both sides agreed to build further trust, continue to talk under all circumstances and evolve a robust and effective bilateral border coordination mechanism.

The meeting was held in a cordial, congenial and professional atmosphere, the statement said.

The Afghan military delegation, led by Director General Military Operation (DGMO), Maj. Gen. Afzal Aman, included representatives from the Afghan National Security Council (NSC), Afghan military intelligence and Afghan border police.

The Pakistani side was headed by Maj. Gen. Aamer Riaz, DGMO of the Pakistan Army, which gave a detailed briefing on the border coordination mechanism.

There was no word from the Afghan side about the meeting seen as very important at a time when Islamabad was anxious to seek Afghan cooperation to boost security on the border to stop fleeing militants from crossing the border.