Terrorism a common enemy: Pak President tells Ghani

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Islamabad, Nov 14: Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain today told his newly-elected Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani that terrorism is a "common enemy", and stressed on bilateral collaboration for peace and stability in the region.

Ashraf Ghani, who arrived in Pakistan today for an official two-day visit, held talks with Hussain at the President House. Hussain said Pakistan remains committed to assist Afghan security forces in training and capacity building. He said terrorism is a "common enemy and we must make joint efforts to defeat it."

He said further expansion of the Pak-Afghan relations and greater trade and economic collaboration was essential to realise the full economic potential for mutual benefit and for peace, stability and development in the region. Hussain said: "We need to undertake joint efforts to achieve the target of enhancing bilateral trade to the tune of USD 5 billion."

Terrorism

He also underscored the need for early completion of regional energy and connectivity projects like CASA-1000 and TAPI, President Press Secretary Saba Mohsin Raza told reporters. Ghani is accompanied by a high-level delegation, comprising cabinet ministers, high-ranking officials and business representatives.

He is expected to meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif tomorrow. Ghani is also expected to watch a cricket match between the two countries with the Pakistan Prime Minister in Islamabad tomorrow, in an effort to demonstrate improvement in ties, despite cross-border tensions. Pakistan was one of three nations that had recognised the Taliban regime that ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001, when the US-led international military coalition landed in the country.

Hussain, however, said the peaceful democratic transition of power and formation of national unity government in Afghanistan was a landmark achievement. He said Pakistan would continue to support a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan. Hussain said enhanced people-to-people contacts between the two countries would further "fortify our deep-rooted relations."

He added Pakistan fully supports the vision of the new Afghan leadership. "Peace and stability in Afghanistan are in Pakistan's vital interests." Ghani thanked Hussain for the warm welcome by Pakistan. He expressed his keen desire to further strengthen bilateral ties in all areas of mutual interest. Later, the Hussain also hosted banquet in his honour. Ghani was sworn in as Afghan President in September after the US brokered a peace deal between the two warring presidential candidates - Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah - to form a unity government.

PTI

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