Afghan President Ashraf Ghani met with Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, in Kabul, on May 10, 2021, a statement issued by the presidential palace said. The Pakistani Chief of Army Staff was accompanied by British Chief of Defense Staff Gen Nicholas Patrick Carter. The Afghan President and Pakistani Chief of Army Staff discussed issues related to the Afghan peace process, bilateral security, and regional peace.
Gen Bajwa also met with the Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, and discussed the Afghan peace process. Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, the ISI director-general, was also present in the meetings.
For the first time in history, a top British general accompanied the Pakistani Chief of Army Staff in his Kabul visit. The Afghan government has overtly been accusing some elements of the Pakistani army of sponsoring the Taliban insurgency. Afghan intelligence agency has repeated said that the Taliban Quetta shura is leading the Taliban commanders on the ground against the Afghan government and people.
Amid a growing violence and US withdrawal, the Pakistani Chief of Army Staff visited Kabul to reassure Afghanistan of Pakistan’s support for the Afghan reconciliation process.
Earlier on Saturday a car bombing killed at least 85 and wounding 147 people, mostly school girls in a Hazara-populated neighborhood of Kabul. The Afghan government blamed the Taliban insurgents for the attack but the group denied involvement in it.
“A peaceful Afghanistan means a peaceful region in general and a peaceful Pakistan in particular,” said Gen Bajwa, according to a Pakistani newspaper.
Earlier yesterday, the Taliban announced that the group will commit to a three-day ceasefire during the Eid holiday. The government has long been urging the Taliban to sign into a permanent truce. But the insurgents have resisted the demand and kept attacking the Afghan security forces and government workers.
A statement issued by the Afghan government said the government forces would also observe the three-day ceasefire.
The US envoy for Afghan peace, Zalmay Khalilzad, welcomed the announcement of ceasefire by the Taliban and the Afghan government. “I welcome the announcements by the Taliban and the Afghan government to observe an Eid ceasefire. Violence has been horrific in recent weeks, and the Afghan people have paid the price.”