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November 5, 2014

Gen. Raheel Sharif to visit Kabul

Pakistan's Army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif — AFP Photo/File

ISLAMABAD ( Army Chief General Raheel Sharif will make a visit to Kabul on Thursday to meet the new Afghan leadership, the Pakistani military said in a short statement today.

"During his daylong visit, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif would meet Afghan President  Ashraf Ghani, CEO Abdullah Abdullah, defence minister, national security  adviser and senior military leaders," DG ISPR Major General Asim Bajwa posted on Twitter.

Sources within the defence ministry told that during his meetings with Afghan civil and military leaders, General Sharif would discuss security issues concerning both the countries as well as the post drawdown of US-led international forces from Afghanistan.

Recently, Afghanistan made allegations against Pakistan regarding involvement in cross-border shelling, which Pakistan's Foreign Office "firmly rejected".

“We firmly reject any statements vilifying Pakistan’s commitment to fight terrorism," spokesperson Tasneem Aslam said in an earlier statement.

The spokesperson also mentioned that it is imperative to mutually strengthen border control and fight terrorism that is affecting the entire region. Pakistan is committed to improving friendly relations with Afghanistan to have sovereignty.

For many years, there has been back and forth retort and blame-game between Afghanistan and Pakistan regarding infiltration of terrorists and this has proven to strain the Pak-Afghan relationship.

The Chief of Army staff (COAS) is also set to have a week-long US visit which will start on November 16. He is expected to meet with Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel and other members of the American defence establishment during the visit.

After the US and Afghanistan signed a bilateral treaty agreement, this meeting will be the first formal consultation between the top military of the two countries.

Pakistan lodges protest over US Defence Department report

Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD (Express Tribune): Pakistan lodged a strong protest on Wednesday with the United States of America over comments contained in the US Department of Defence report sent to the Congress under the titled “Progress Towards Security and Stability in Afghanistan”.

Pakistan’s protest to the “unwarranted comments” was conveyed by the Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz to US Ambassador Richard Olson at the Foreign Ministry.

“While noting Pakistan’s cooperation with the US in areas of mutual interests, the recently released report also carries unsubstantiated allegations of the existence of terrorist “sanctuaries” or that proxy forces are operating from here against Afghanistan and India,” the Foreign Affairs statement read.

Reiterating Pakistan’s resolve to fight terrorism, the statement added: “Such allegations are of particular concern at this point when Pakistan government has launched comprehensive operations against militants in North Waziristan.”

“The military operation Zarb-e-Azb has been broadly welcomed internationally, including in the US. The operation has successfully eliminated terrorist hideouts and is directed against all militants, without any distinction. We therefore hope that the issues will be seen in their correct perspective,” the statement further said.

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