Afghan-Pakistan ties ‘never better’, Nisar tells Kerry



WASHINGTON: Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have never been better, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said Thursday, adding there had also been “a quantum leap in trust” between Islamabad and Washington.

“I think Afghanistan and Pakistan, working in close hands and in close cooperation, it will do wonders for the cooperation in the field of counterterrorism,” Nisar said as he met with top US diplomat John Kerry.

“Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have never been better, and that is a very, very positive development.”

Pakistan’s army chief General Raheel Sharif held talks in Kabul on Tuesday with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on boosting security and continuing operations against Taliban militants, the Pakistani military said.

Explore | Afghan Taliban deny reports of peace talks: spokesman

The two men had also praised improved relations between the neighbours, which have seen a series of high-level talks.

Nisar was attending a three-day White House summit on ways to battle violent extremist groups.

Kerry also praised what he called “an unprecedented level of effort to try to produce cooperation” between the two neighbours which he said was producing “some signs of real results”.

Ties between Washington and Islamabad hit a low point in recent years after the 2011 killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, shot dead during a US special forces operation in the town of Abbottabad.

But both countries have worked to improve relations, and Kerry visited Islamabad in January as the two nations vowed to step up cooperation to track down militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

“Over the last few months, and I think due to the efforts of Secretary Kerry and the administration, there has been a huge quantum leap in the level of confidence, in the level of trust, and in the level of cooperation,” Nisar said.

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