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PM Abbasi lands in Kabul to ‘reduce mistrust’

ISLAMABAD: Aimed at reducing mistrust and repairing the strained ties  between two neighbouring countries, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Friday touched down in Kabul to hold comprehensive dialogue with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah on economic, security and counter-terrorism cooperation.

The premier was presented guard of honour upon his arrival at the presidential place in Kabul.

It will be his first visit since becoming prime minister last year, replacing Nawaz Sharif who was ousted from office.

The visit comes against the backdrop of Islamabad’s support for Mr. Ghani’s offer of peace talks with the Taliban.

PM Abbasi is visiting the Afghan capital at the invitation of Afghan President Muhammad Ashraf Ghani, according to the Foreign Office.

In March, the Afghan president during a meeting with Pakistan’s National Security Adviser (NSA) Lt General (retd) Nasser Janjua had  extended an official invitation to the premier to visit Afghanistan.

The meet would allow the leaders to take up matters of mutual interest, strengthening of bilateral ties, return of Afghan refugees, combating drug production and narco-trade besides holding talks on Afghan peace process and regional political and security situation.

The Foreign Office in a statement said “Prime Minister’s visit to Afghanistan is aimed at strengthening the positive momentum in bilateral relations and help augment joint endeavours in the pursuit of durable peace, stability and economic prosperity in the two countries, and the region.”

The visit comes in the backdrop of Pakistan’s support to President Ghani’s offer of peace talks with the Taliban for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan and strengthening bilateral engagement. Abbasi would also meet senior Afghan political leaders.

During the talks, Pakistan would reiterate its stance to continue to support Afghanistan’s developments efforts through capacity building in infrastructure, educational and health sectors in Afghanistan.

In a bid to deepen people to people contacts, the prime minister would discuss with the Afghan leadership ways to facilitate travel between the two countries, assist in education and medical treatment of Afghan nationals in Pakistan and expand trade and transit facilitation between the two countries.

The two countries are already participating in key trans-regional initiatives to promote regional economic integration; Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline and Central Asia – South Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade Project (CASA-1000).

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