Senior Afghan and Pakistani military officials held their first meeting last week in Rawalpindi on common concerns over security matters: Report
Afghanistan, Pakistan 'To Form Joint Working Groups'
The Pakistan government has formally shared proposals with Afghanistan for establishing joint working groups that will allow both countries to address each other's concerns on all key issues, Pakistan’s Daily Times reported.
A Pakistani official said senior Pakistani and Afghan military officials also held their first meeting last week in Rawalpindi on security issues.
The countries agreed to the formation of the groups during the talks between Pakistani Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul on October 1, according to the report.
The groups are to discuss diplomatic, military, intelligence, economic and refugee issues, said an official who did not wish to be identified.
"Chiefs of the military operations have held talks under the same arrangements and other groups will also start meetings on a regular basis to address each other's concerns," he said.
The Pakistani and Afghan military officials held two-day talks on Thursday and Friday. No side issued any statement and officials from both sides avoided giving comments.
Pakistan’s military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor, however, told TV channels that the Pakistani side had raised with the Afghan delegation last Friday's terrorist attack on an agriculture center in Peshawar, which killed nine people, including seven students, and injured 35 others.
The spokesman for the banned TTP Mohammed Khorasani claimed responsibility for the attack. The militant group released photographs of the attackers, sitting with the TTP chief Maulvi Fazlullah, and posted a video of the attack online.
The report said that the Afghan Chief of General Staff Gen. Mohammad Habib Hesari led a seven-member delegation in the talks with their Pakistani counterparts. The Pakistani delegation was led by Director General of Military Operations Maj. Gen. Sahir Shamshad Mirza, according to sources.
The report added that Pakistan security officials pressed for their long-standing demand to take action against the Pakistani militants, who they believe have sanctuaries in Afghan border regions.
On their part, the Afghan side tabled the issue of cross-border shelling by Pakistani forces into Afghanistan.
"Pakistan and Afghan militaries are now engaged to put in place a system of coordination to find a solution to the cross-border shelling and to stop attacks from the Afghan side of the border," the official said.
He said President Ghani and several other leaders had also taken up the issue of the cross-border shelling with Pakistani officials and insisted that the rocketing results in the "displacement of the people."
"Kabul called for restraint from the Pakistani side and sought some time for Afghan forces to deal with the situation but Pakistan had made it clear that it cannot wait if terrorists from Afghanistan launch attacks on Pakistani posts," the official went on to say.
"We categorically dispel the impression that Pakistani forces fire into civilian areas. Fire is only returned to areas from where Pakistani posts are attacked," he went on to say. However, Afghan officials insisted that Pakistani shelling "affects civilians and hundreds were displaced in the last month's shelling."
The government of Afghanistan has not yet commented on the proposals.