Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday met with President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani in Kabul and the two leaders explored ways to deepen the bilateral ties and discussed the Afghan reconciliation process, amidst an uptick in violence that has strained the peace push in the war-torn country.
Khan was received by Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar and Afghan President’s Special Representative for Pakistan Mohammad Umer Daudzai and senior officials upon his arrival at Kabul airport on his maiden trip to Afghanistan, officials said.
He was received by President Ghani received on his arrival at ARG Presidential Palace, situated in the heart of Kabul city.
Khan was accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, adviser on commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, ISI chief Lt. Gen. Faiz Hamid, foreign secretary Sohail Mehmood and special representative for Afghanistan Muhammad Sadiq.
According to officials, the two leaders discussed ways to further strengthen the bilateral relations, the peace process and regional economic development and connectivity.
They agreed to strengthen the bilateral relations as the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan are linked through bonds of history, faith, culture, values, and traditions.
Khan expressed confidence that his visit would help foster a stronger and multifaceted relationship between the two countries.
This is Khan’s first visit to Afghanistan since assuming office in 2018. It is the highest-profile visit by a Pakistani official to Kabul since peace talks began between the Taliban and the Afghan government in Doha in September.
It comes days after the Pentagon announced it would reduce the number of US military personnel in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500 by mid-January.
The announcement came as there has been an uptick in violence, with the Taliban continuing to carry out attacks targeting government leaders, security forces, and civilians.
President Ghani last visited Pakistan in June 2019.
The Pakistani Prime Minister’s visit is being billed as a symbol of increasing confidence between the two countries, triggered by Pakistan’s role in bringing the Taliban to the negotiation table, after years of acrimony between Islamabad and Kabul.
Earlier, the two leaders had a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 14th Organisation of Islamic Cooperation(OIC) Summit in Makkah in May 2019. Khan also had a telephonic conversation with President Ghani in September 2020.