MINISTER of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar undertook a visit to Afghanistan on Tuesday where during a meeting with Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, the two sides discussed cooperation in the areas of education, health, trade and investment, regional connectivity, people-to-people contacts and socio-economic projects.
There is no denying that greater collaboration between the two neighbouring countries is of pivotal importance and will be a win-win for them.
We believe this cooperation and the extension of CPEC to Afghanistan will open the whole region for trade and other economic activities up to Central Asian Republics and Azerbaijan.
This dream, however, will remain unfulfilled until some serious issues relating to security are not addressed and greater responsibility in this regard rests with the Afghan authorities.
The fact is that TTP continues to operate from the Afghan soil and time and again their operatives have been seen attacking across the border which has also resulted in the martyrdom of our security personnel.
Then the Afghan authorities also do not recognize Durand Line as the official boundary between the two countries.
These issues warrant immediate attention and needs to be addressed as only in an environment of mutual trust and understanding, the cooperation in different fields can move forward.
Pakistan has always shown open heartedness to the Afghan people. It continues to host millions of Afghan refugees and rather their number has further increased in recent months after the withdrawal of NATO troops from their country.
Also Pakistan has forcefully raised the issue of humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. During her meeting with the Acting Afghan Foreign Minister, Hina Rabbani Khar reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to a peaceful, stable, prosperous and connected Afghanistan.
Afghan authorities should also move forward with the spirit of cooperation and take necessary steps so that their soil is not used by the terrorists against Pakistan.
Prosperity and regional connectivity will only come through peace. This will also demonstrate to the world that the Taliban are serious for peace and stability in their homeland.
Both Pakistan and Afghanistan must maintain close contacts to address in an amicable manner the issues that irk both the sides.