Afghanistan: Sharif and Ghani meet in Islamabad, rekindling diplomacy

On Saturday, Afghan president Ashraf Ghani and Pakistani president Nawaz Sharif met for a conference in Islamabad, marking a rekindling of relations between the two adversarial countries. Sharif pledged that he would support President Ghani to bring peace to Afghanistan. Former President Hamid Karzai notoriously blamed Pakistani policy and leaders for the entirety of Afghanistan’s security problems. Sharif stated that “security and future prosperity remain interlinked, and [I] have consistently emphasized Pakistan’s [utmost] priority of building a peaceful neighborhood…” Ghani called on the Taliban and other Islamic militant groups in Afghanistan to join for trilateral peace talks. However, Sharif has insisted that these talks be Afghan-led, despite the fact that significant Taliban groups such as the Tehrik-e-Taliban operate and strike mostly from the Pakistan side of Waziristan into southern Afghanistan.

In his short time in office, Ghani has led significant initiatives to repair ties with both the United States and Pakistan, as well as to make overtures to China for friendship and support. Earlier in September, he approved the Bilateral Security Agreement, which will allow US troops to remain in the country past the end of this year and threw out a Karzai-created rule that forced US operations to only accompany Afghan National Army ones.

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