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Pak-Afghan bilateral forum to meet tomorrow

Afghan officials continue to harass Pakistani diplomats in Kabul

ISLAMABAD: The second review meeting of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) will be held in Kabul on Monday.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood will lead the Pakistan delegation comprising senior officials. The Afghan side will be led by Deputy Foreign Minister Mirwais Naib.

The statement further said the framework comprises five Working Groups focused on Politico-Diplomatic, Military to Military Coordination, Intelligence Cooperation, Economy, and Refugee Issues. The first review meeting was held in Islamabad on 10 June 2019, it added.

During the second meeting, all five working groups under APAPPS will review the implementation status of earlier discussions and decisions, with a view to taking the process forward.

The APAPPS provides an important forum to address common challenges and deepen mutual trust and understanding. Effective utilization of the APAPPS mechanism is pivotal in advancing the shared objectives of peace, stability, prosperity and development.

The official statement comes days after Afghanistan’s top peace negotiator Abdullah Abdullah announced that intra-Afghan talks with the Taliban would begin in the coming days.

APAPPS was established in 2018 to provide a comprehensive and structured framework for institutional engagement in diverse areas of bilateral cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Earlier, Pakistan had hosted a Taliban delegation, led by the group’s deputy chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

The visit of the Taliban delegation came against the backdrop of efforts for early commencement of intra-Afghan dialogue a crucial phase of the peace process.

According to a statement issued by the FO, views were exchanged on the current status of the Afghan peace process and the way forward during the meeting.

In December 2018, Pakistan arranged rare direct talks between Washington and the Taliban, paving the way for a negotiated settlement of the lingering conflict.

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