tribune.com.pk/Afghan president wants to build ‘real and honest cooperation and friendship’ with Pakistan

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SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani wants to build “real and honest cooperation and friendship” during his visit to Islamabad later this week, his spokesperson was quoted as saying in a dispatch published in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

Reporting from Kabul, the newspaper said the visit was aimed at reseting ties with Pakistan and was described as a multipronged effort to revive moribund peace talks with the Taliban.

Nazifullah Salarzai, the Afghan president’s spokesperson, said the Afghan leader would visit Pakistan this week for an official meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

While officials are completing the agenda, Salarzai added, the talks will focus on bolstering economic ties and security cooperation.

“Afghanistan wants to have real and honest cooperation and friendship with this neighbouring country,” Salarzai said.

“As the president has said, we have this window of opportunity. We want this window to be transformed into a door, then into a corridor, and then into a highway,” he added.

Ghani, who was inaugurated in September, faces many challenges on the foreign-policy front, but managing the relationship with his country’s powerful neighbour -with which it shares a porous, 1,500-mile-long border- promises to be one of his biggest tests.

Under the presidency of Ghani’s predecessor Hamid Karzai, ties between the two were particularly strained. Karzai routinely accused Pakistan of providing support to the Taliban.

Pakistani, Afghan and British leaders early last year put in place a timeline for establishing a peace deal with the Taliban. However, those efforts were in vain as accusations over cross-border shelling were exchanged between Kabul and Islamabad.

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