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Pak, Afghan officials discuss efforts to normalise ties

Islamabad: A Pakistani delegation has met Afghanistan’s top officials in Kabul and discussed efforts to normalise relations amid increased tensions, according to sources here.

Monday’s meeting was the first since the Pakistani Embassy closed its consular section in Kabul earlier this month, citing unspecified security concerns.

The Pakistani delegation included Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and Inter-Services Intelli gence (ISI) chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed. They held talks with Afghan intelligence chief, national security adviser and acting foreign minister.

The agenda of talks, acc ording to sources, included the dispute over an Afghan market in Peshawar, border firing incidents and mutual allegations of harassment of diplomats.

The two sides agreed to address bilateral concerns and normalise the ties, according to the sources.

The two also agreed that the next meeting of Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) would be held in Kabul in December.

The APAPPS framework was set up earlier this year to enhance engagement and cooperation between the two countries. It comprised of five working groups on politico-diplomatic, military, intelligence, economic and trade and refugees issues.

No official statement was issued by the two sides about the visit which was considered as important to restore trust to bolster efforts for starting talks with the Taliban.

A high-level Taliban delegation led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar visited Pakistan in October and held talks with the country’s top leadership. Pakistan is believed to have influence over the Taliban and is helping to bring them to a negotiating table.

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