By Shadi Khan Saif
KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) - Islamabad has assured Kabul of its cooperation in taking action against terrorists allegedly involved in the latest spate of deadly assaults in Afghanistan, top Afghan security officials said on Thursday
Mohammad Masoum Stanikzai, head of the spy agency National Directorate of Security (NDS), and Wais Ahmad Barmak, interior minister, briefed the press in Kabul Thursday about their unannounced and urgent trip to Islamabad a day earlier.
“In the past, there was total denial [by Pakistan relating to the presence of the terrorists], but this time, there was a limited confession, so now there is no expectation of argument, but of action," Stanikzai said.
He added that a delegation from Pakistan would visit Kabul on Saturday to report on developments regarding the sanctuaries of terrorists in the Chaman district in Pakistan.
The delegation will also report on support for terrorism in certain specific religious schools in Pakistan and enter into talks over the handing of certain individuals potentially involved in a suicide car bombing in Kabul on Jan. 27 that killed more than 100 people and left over 200 wounded, as well as in the assault on the Intercontinental Hotel on Jan. 21, which killed over 20 people.
Interior Minister Wais Ahmad Barmak said Islamabad has called for establishing a high-level intelligence sharing mechanism with Kabul.
On Wednesday, a top-level Afghan delegation met Pakistani authorities in Islamabad to discuss ways to improve receding security cooperation between the two neighbors. This was the second contact between the two neighboring countries following the fresh spate of terrorism.
Pakistan on Thursday said it would do “ whatever it can” for peace and stability in war-torn Afghanistan, which is fighting back a revitalized Taliban insurgency.
Talking to reporters with Afghan Ambassador Hazrat Omer Zakhilwal on Thursday, Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif called for a close cooperation between the two sides to fight the common threat of terrorism, local broadcaster Express News reported.
“Both Afghanistan and Pakistan are victims of terrorism, therefore there is a need for close cooperation between the two countries to fight this common threat,” said Asif.
The foreign minister added that the Afghan delegation, which visited Islamabad on Wednesday, had productive talks with Pakistan.
The Afghan government blames the powerful Haqqani network for recent attacks and had accused Pakistan of providing sanctuaries to the militant network on its soil.
Islamabad, for its part, has denied the charge and accused Kabul of allowing anti-Pakistan Taliban factions to launch terrorist attacks on civilians and security forces inside Pakistan from its territory.
*Aamir Latif contributed to this report from Karachi