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Aziz, Atmar discuss border closure & terror

Aziz, Atmar discuss border closure & terror

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Mar 16, 2017 - 08:47

PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): Top Afghan and Pakistani diplomats have conferred on issues of common concerns, including the month-long border closure and terrorism, an official said on Thursday.

Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar, who met in London late on Wednesday, agreed on the need for de-escalating bilateral tensions.

An Islamabad-based official, requesting not to be named, told Pajhwok Afghan News that Aziz raised complaints that some insurgent groups were using Afghanistaninfo-icon’s soil to conduct attacks in Pakistaninfo-icon.

On February 17, Pakistan closed its border with the landlocked neighbour after a series of high-casualty assaults in Lahore, Sehwan, Mohmand Agency and elsewhere. Islamabad blamed Afghanistan-based militants for the attacks.

Hosted by British National Security Advisor Sir Mark Lyall Grant, the meeting was aimed to enable the two countries to break their diplomatic hiatus. But the participants are tight-lipped on the subjects that came up for discussion.

“As a result of Operation Zarb-i-Azb, a large number of fighters sneaked into Afghanistan from North Waziristan. They plot attacks on targets inside Pakistan from their hideouts in ungoverned spaces in eastern Afghanistan,” the official alleged.

Aziz took up the issue with Atmar, underlining the imperative of an early crackdown on the anti-Pakistan militants on Afghan soil, according to the source, who believed continued negotiations would help the neighbours overcome their mistrust.

“The Afghan NSA called the border blockade an illegal and unilateral step that has caused businessmen huge losses. He demanded the immediate reopening of the border to end people’s suffering,” the source said.

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