ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif is scheduled to travel to Kabul on Monday to meet top Afghan and Nato commanders to discuss cooperation in the anti-terror fight and overall security situation, say Afghan officials.
The Afghan Defence Ministry said Sunday that General Raheel Sharif will represent Pakistan in the trilateral meeting with Afghan Chief of Army Staff General Sher Mohammad Karimi and International Security Assistance Force Commander General Joseph Dunford.
A diplomatic source in the Pakistani embassy in Kabul also confirmed to The Express Tribune over the phone that the army chief will attend the trilateral meeting.
The army’s Inter-Service Public Relations has not replied to queries.
General Raheel will be attending the trilateral meeting in Kabul for the first time, the Afghan Defence Ministry spokesperson General Zahir Azeemi said in a statement posted on the ministry’s website.
“The tripartite meeting is aimed at discussing cooperation in security and in fighting terrorism,” the Afghan defence ministry said.
The meeting is important as it takes place at a time when foreign troops are devising an exit strategy and Afghanistan and Nato need Pakistan cooperation to ward off any threat to Afghan security.
General Raheel Sharif’s visit coincides with recent tensions along the border in Balochistan.
Afghanistan claimed on Thursday that one of its border police officers was killed as clashes broke out with Pakistani troops along the border in southern Kandahar province.
The Afghan Interior Ministry had also alleged that Pakistani forces had started “construction of bunkers and check posts inside the Afghan territory” in the Maroof district of Kandahar.
The Pakistan Army had rejected these claims by Afghan officials and in turn accused Afghan forces of firing at a Pakistani post.
A security official had stated that the Afghan National Army troops resorted to unprovoked firing on Pakistani post in Loe Bund area near Qilla Saifullah in Balochistan province.
The Afghan interior ministry insists that no country can build any checkpoint and bunker four kilometers of the border under the tripartite agreement between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nato.
They claim Pakistani forces have violated the agreement and dug bunkers and built posts two kilometers near the Zero Point along the border.
Pakistan and Afghanistan have nearly 2500 kilometers of a joint border and both routinely accuse each other of cross-border attacks.
Pakistan says that senior leaders of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have regrouped fighters in the Afghanistan border region and frequently launch attacks on Pakistani border posts.
Officials also say that the TTP chief, Maulvi Fazalullah, leads his men in Afghanistan’s Nuristan province.
In February Pakistan said that the TTP executed 23 Frontier Corps soldiers inside Afghanistan. The FC men had been kidnapped from a check post in Mohmand agency in 2010 and were believed to have been taken to other side of the border. Pakistan had lodged a formal protest over the incident.