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Pakistan rejects ‘baseless accusations’ amid fresh terror wave in Afghanistan

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Islamabad has categorically rejected ‘baseless accusations’ concerning recent terrorist incidents in Afghanistan, without mentioning from where the allegations were being hurled.

“The public blame-game is contrary to the spirit of the understanding between leadership of the two countries to address issues through close coordination amongst relevant agencies,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said on Friday, hinting that some Afghan officials might have blamed Pakistan without raising the issue at an agreed upon platform.

Last month, the top leadership of the two neighbouring countries decided not to use public forums to hurl accusations or give ‘hostile’ statements against each other in order to build trust, improve bilateral relations and continue with the Afghan peace process.

The decision was taken during the visit of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to Islamabad, where he held wide-ranging discussions with Prime Minister Imran Khan and the country’s military leadership.

“Pakistan condemns all acts of terrorism in Afghanistan and hopes that both sides would continue working constructively for durable peace in Afghanistan and the region,” the spokesperson said in another tweet.

Sarwar Ahmadzai, President Ghani’s Advisor on National Security, had also hinted that attempts were being made to disrupt the bilateral ties, which he mentioned were on a positive trajectory.

“Certain elements want to disrupt relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Ahmadzai said in a joint press conference along with Pakistan’s Minister of State for States and Frontier Regions (Safron) Shehryar Afridi in Islamabad earlier in the day.

He, however, expressed confidence that the ongoing reconciliation process in Kabul – in which Islamabad has played a pivotal role – would prove successful in restoring peace in the war-torn country.

The development comes amid an unending wave of violence across Afghanistan, where civilians are being killed every day in the country’s grueling conflict, now in its 18th year.

In the latest incident on Friday, at least eight people were killed and dozens wounded when a bomb detonated outside Kabul University while students were waiting to take an exam.

Taliban, meanwhile, have denied any involvement in Friday’s blast.

President Ghani’s visit to Islamabad was his first since 2015 and part of latest efforts by Pakistan to improve troubled ties with Afghanistan.

Officials familiar with the closed-door meeting between Ghani and Imran, who were both assisted by their respective aides, told the private channel that both sides had agreed that “to create better atmosphere, it was important that both countries must avoid blaming each other at public forums”.

Officials said the two countries agreed to use “appropriate diplomatic channels” to convey concerns instead of resorting to giving public statements.

Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have remained tense for years largely because of the trust deficit.

While Islamabad blamed Kabul for hosting militants responsible for carrying out attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan also routinely accused the eastern neighbour of providing safe haven to the Taliban.

President Ghani also gave several statements pointing fingers at Pakistan for the unrest in Afghanistan. Islamabad, however, always dismissed such allegations and continued to reach out to Kabul for sorting out all issues through dialogue.

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