Amid hike in violence, PM Khan arrives in Kabul on a maiden visit

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KABUL: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday pledged his country would do whatever was needed for finding a solution to the Afghan conflict.


Imran Khan arrived at Kabul on a maiden day-long visit to Kabul for discussing peace, economic, military and commercial cooperation with Afghan leaders.


After reaching the Presidential Palace, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani welcomed the premier. PM Khan was also presented with a guard of honour at the presidential palace. Later, the two held one-one-meeting during which they discussed matters of mutual interest.


In a joint presser held subsequently, Khan said, “The whole idea of coming at a time when violence is increasing in Afghanistan is to assure you Mr. President that we the people of Pakistan, the government of Pakistan have only one concern and that concern is what you are feeling in Afghanistan that we want peace.”


Imran Khan stated the objective of his foray was to build trust, to communicate more and to assure Afghans that wherever they needed Pakistan’s help, his country would be there to assist.  


He said that both sides of ‘the border’ (a reference to the hypothetical Durand Line) wanted peace and Pakistan would make all its efforts to help ensure stability in Afghanistan.


Regarding violence, he said that despite talks in Qatar, the conflict inside Afghanistan was still high and his country would help to reduce violence in Afghanistan.


On his part, President Ashraf Ghani called Imran Khan’s trip to Kabul ‘historic’ at the press conference, adding that the Prime Minister also brought a message to Afghanistan that violence was not an answer.


“A comprehensive political settlement for an enduring peace within the framework of our values, our Constitution and the Islamic Republic is the way to the future,” Ghani said.


He said that constructive and interactive politics in the region was the only way for comprehensive cooperation in the future.


Ghani also informed that he would visit Pakistan at the invitation of Imran Khan in the near future.


It is pertinent to mention Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is accompanying Khan on this visit. Qureshi has also met with his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Hanif Atmar. Both leaders have discussed bilateral relations, the Afghan peace process and regional peace and security situation.