Pak, China and Afghanistan agree to enhance counterterrorism cooperation

Acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi attends meeting

China-Pakistan-Afghanistan Trilateral Foreign Ministers' Dialogue Pakistan's Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (Left) shaking hands with Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi during a meeting in Islamabad | AFP

Pakistan, China and Afghanistan have agreed to combat terrorism and enhance cooperation in different economic fields, the foreign office here said on Sunday.

The foreign ministers of the three countries participated in the 5th China-Pakistan-Afghanistan Trilateral Foreign Ministers' Dialogue held in Islamabad on Saturday, it said in a statement.

"The three sides agreed to advance political engagement, counterterrorism cooperation and enhance trade, investments and connectivity under the trilateral framework,” it said.

No further details about the three-way interaction were provided for which Acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi was specially allowed by the UN to travel to Pakistan.

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang flew from Goa, where he attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting, to Islamabad to participate in the trilateral.

Separately, Muttaqi met Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Sunday and held a “candid and in-depth exchange" on key issues of mutual concern, including peace and security, as well as trade and connectivity.

The two foreign ministers reaffirmed their desire to pursue continuous and practical engagement.

On peace and security, they emphasised the need for enhanced coordination to counter terrorism and deepen bilateral cooperation.

“Regarding bilateral and transit trade, the two sides stressed the importance of removing impediments to trade in order to advance the goal of enhanced regional economic integration and connectivity,” the statement said.

Muttaqi also met Pakistan army chief General Syed Asim Munir and the two discussed issues of mutual interest including aspects related to regional security, border management, and formalisation of bilateral security mechanisms for improvement in the current security environment, according to a statement issued by the army's media wing.

COAS stressed the need for enhanced cooperation between the two brotherly neighbours to effectively tackle the common challenges of terrorism and extremism. "He reiterated the need for full support and commitment from the Afghan Interim Government in matters of mutual interest, it said.

“Muttaqi appreciated Pakistan's traditional support for the people of Afghanistan and acknowledged the important role that Islamabad continues to play in facilitating peace and development in Afghanistan,” it said.


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