Pak army bosses to continue Afghan 'reconciliation' work

Pakistan's top army commanders have decided to continue backing efforts for reconciliation in Afghanistan as Islamabad would be the "main beneficiary" of peace in the neighbouring country, according to a media report today.

The military top brass expressed satisfied with the outcome of steps taken by Pakistan to help reconciliation in Afghanistan and endorsed continuing support for the process during a meeting chaired yesterday by army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

"Backing of the peace process in Afghanistan should go on. Pakistan would be the main beneficiary," an unnamed senior official who participated in the Corps Commanders Conference was quoted as saying by Dawn after the meeting.

The military's public affairs wing described the meeting at the General Headquarters as a routine monthly affair that reviewed professional matters and was "briefed about internal and external security situation of the country".

The corps commanders were informed during the meeting that the policy on Afghanistan enjoys "across board support" in Pakistan because of the realisation that peace inside Pakistan hinged on peace in Afghanistan.

Asked about Pakistan's next steps for assisting the reconciliation process, the senior official said, "For the moment meetings are taking place and that is encouraging".

He did not elaborate on discussions in these meetings or what the basis of his optimism was.

The army's decision to continue assisting the Afghans came ahead of a Pakistan-Afghanistan-Turkey trilateral summit in Ankara during December 11-12, and at a time when acting US Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan David Pearce is visiting Islamabad for meetings with Pakistani officials.

The powerful army plays a key role in determining Pakistan's foreign policy, especially relations with countries like the US, India and Afghanistan.

The Dawn quoted analysts as saying that they believed the endorsement of the policy to encourage the peace process in Afghanistan would "imply sustained Pakistani support for it".

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