Pakistan has eliminated all militant sanctuaries from its territory and expects the same to be reciprocated by its neighbours, Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa told the Chiefs of Defence Conference held in Kabul on Tuesday, an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said.
The conference was attended by the top US commander in Afghanistan Gen John Nicholson, Commander US Central Command (Centcom) Gen Joseph Votel and the army chiefs of Afghanistan and central Asian republics Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Addressing the conference focusing on how to deal with escalating terrorism in the region, Gen Bajwa said the path to regional peace and stability “passes through Afghanistan”, the ISPR statement said.
He reiterated that Pakistan has eliminated all terrorist sanctuaries from its soil, however, “residual signatures of terrorists” who take advantage of the presence of Afghan refugees and lack of effective border security coordination, “are also being traced and targeted through ongoing operation Raddul Fasaad”.
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”.
“Collaborative approach and persistence is the answer to all challenges, for which Pakistan is ready to play its part,” Gen Bajwa was quoted as saying.
The two-day conference concluded with the agreement to continue cooperation for regional peace and stability.
Capt Tom Gresback, spokesman for Nato-led forces, said in a statement the event “afforded leaders the opportunity to meet in person and identify opportunities to protect and promote common interests, specifically pertaining to securing a lasting peace for Afghanistan and stability for the region.”
The high-level conference comes less than a month after a series of deadly attacks rattled Kabul, following which a high-level delegation from Afghanistan comprising the interior minister and spy chief had visited Islamabad with a ‘personal message’ from President Ashraf Ghani.
The delegation held talks with Pakistani leadership on security cooperation amid the highly volatile security situation in their country.
Afghan officials had said that the delegation handed over to Islamabad “undeniable” evidence which claimed that the spate of deadly attacks in Afghanistan were allegedly planned in Pakistan.
Despite Pak-Afghan delegations meeting for talks both in Kabul and Islamabad, little headway has been made on the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS), which is a Pakistani initiative for cooperation in the areas of counterterrorism and reduction of violence, peace and reconciliation, refugees’ repatriation and joint economic development.