Islamabad: Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to form a high-level committee to address the recently flared up dispute over the Durand line, which brought the Taliban and Pakistani border security forces at loggerheads.
The decision to form the committee was taken during Pakistan’s National Security Advisor (NSA) Moeed Yusuf’s recent two-day visit to Kabul.
During high-level meetings with the Taliban leadership, the issue of Durand Line remained as one of the primary points of discussion.
Pakistan’s NSA, who also heads the Afghanistan Inter-Ministerial Coordination Cell (AICC), held important meetings with Afghanistan’s acting Deputy Prime Minster Mullah Abdul Salam Hanafi and acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.
Both sides discussed the current situation in Afghanistan and strengthening of bilateral relations between the two countries.
“Both sides agreed to establish a national-level coordination mechanism for enhancing facilitation at border crossing points and to expedite the ongoing negotiations to conclude a new trade agreement,” stated Pakistan’s Ambassador in Kabul, Mansoor Khan.
The focus of the visit of Yusuf to Kabul on January 29-30 was on increasing facilitation in trade, transit, business and humanitarian engagements.
Both sides also agreed to renew deliberations on the 2010 Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA), which expired last year.
Pakistan maintained that the objective of the visit was to discuss with the Afghan leadership the humanitarian requirements of the country and “Pakistan’s proposals for deepening economic engagement to overcome the current challenges Afghanistan is facing”.
“The visit yielded substantive outcomes in terms of forward movement on trade facilitation and social sector support. Both sides also agreed to initiate barter trade, modalities for which will be worked out immediately,” a statement issued by Pakistan’s foreign office maintained.
Pakistan has offered capacity-building and training support in multiple sectors, including health, education, banking, customs, railways and aviation.
“Afghanistan and Pakistan emphasised their commitment to ensuring peace and stability in both countries,” the statement read.