The head of Pakistan’s powerful spy agency ISI, Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar, visited Afghanistan yesterday to improve bilateral military and intelligence cooperation amid heightened tensions between the two countries, according to media reports. This was the first visit by Mukhtar as Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and came at a time when relations between the two countries are at their lowest, the Express Tribune reported.
There was no official confirmation from either side about the visit. Afghanistan’s Tolo news reported that the ISI chief was in Kabul to improve bilateral military and intelligence cooperation.The ISI chief’s trip came on the heels of a high-level Pakistan Army delegation led by Chief of General Staff (CGS) Lt Gen Bilal Akbar visiting Kabul.
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Afghan authorities were conveyed that Pakistan Army had control in all areas on Pakistan side of the border and shall not allow its soil to be used against Afghanistan, the daily said. “Terrorists are common threat and shall be defeated,” the official statement quoted Gen Bilal as saying.
The flurry of visits by senior military and intelligence officials were part of efforts by the two sides to defuse their tensions primarily due to serious differences on fighting the militant groups. Both sides accused the other for hands-off approach to certain militant outfits. Afghanistan has long held the view that Pakistan is still harbouring Afghan Taliban on its soil, a charge strongly rebutted by Islamabad. Pakistan has its own reservations by Afghan authorities to take on TTP and affiliates, which have been responsible for some of the deadly terrorist attacks.