Afghan troops accept training by Pak forces

Afghan Defence Minister Bismillah Khan met President Asif Ali Zardari and chief of Army staff General Pervaiz Kiyan, in Islamabad on Monday and showed approval to accept Pakistan’s long-standing offer to train Afghan troops.

At Military headquarters, matters regarding defense cooperation and war on terror were discussed by Defence Minister Bismillah Khan . Both the leaders underscored the need to boost counter-terrorism cooperation between the two countries.

The Afghan delegation headed by Defence Minister Gen Bismillah Khan Muhammadi, being on a five-day visit to Pakistan, included Major General Afzal Aman, Director General of Military Operations; Major General Abdul Manan Farahi, Director General Military Intelligence and Investigation; Major General Payanda Mohammad Nazim, Inspector General of Training; and Major General Aminullah Karim, Commandant of National Defence College, Afghanistan.

General Kayani had offered to train Afghan troops back in 2010 . However, the Afghan President Hamid Karzai had dismissed the offer last Feb in his conversation with some journalists.

The defense team’s visit, now manifests that Afghans are finally convinced about the role of Pakistan in both countries combined endeavors  to mitigate insurgency in both regions.

“Both sides showed understanding for the fact that not only the geography, history and culture, but also the destiny of the two countries was shared. This makes it imperative for the two countries to move forward with a joint approach on important national and regional issues, and have a joint strategy on security issues affecting either of two countries, or both,” a military source quoted after the meeting at the General Headquarters, which signals mutual concerns of both the countries and the necessity to hold dialogue as to resolve issues on both ends.

The Afghan delegation is expected to visit the Combat Training Centre in Lehri (near Jhelum), School of Infantry and Tactics in Quetta, Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul, and Staff College, Quetta, to have a look at the training facilities, to be provided to its troops.

General Bismillah particularly thanked Pakistan on release of some important Taliban prisoners, which is likely to help kicking off a broad-based intra-Afghan dialogue. General Kayani reiterated Pakistan’s stance and desire for a peaceful, stable and united Afghanistan, and the need for a successful Afghan-owned – Afghan-led peace process for the purpose.