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Iran, Pakistan back political settlement in Afghanistan

Iran, Pakistan back political settlement in Afghanistan

"We agreed to step up security cooperation between the two countries and their respective border security and intelligence forces while also forming a joint rapid reaction force on the shared borders to fight terrorism", Rouhani said after a closed-door meeting with Khan. The joint anti-terror force announcement came soon after both countries accused terrorists operating in Iran and Pakistan of attacking members of their respective militaries.

The agreement comes after Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said Saturday that a group of militants crossed from Iran earlier in the week and attacked Pakistani armed forces in southwestern Baluchistan province, killing 14.

The border skirts the volatile southeastern Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchistan which has been the scene of frequent attacks on Iran's security forces.

Qureshi also called on Afghan government to take action against those militants hiding in Afghanistan and carry out terror attacks in Pakistan.

In their latest attack, Pakistan-based terrorists killed over 40 members of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) by ramming an explosive-laden vehicle into their bus in southeastern Iran in February.

Imran Khan, for his part, said: "In the new Pakistani government we are seeking to open a new chapter in trade with Iran and we are determined to expand economic ties with Iran despite the sanctions".

Later, addressing the Pak-Iran Business Forum, Prime Minister Imran Khan said Islamabad will do everything to promote its bilateral ties and trade with Tehran.

Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at Saadabad Palace in Tehran where both the leaders held extensive talks on bilateral, regional and worldwide issues.

During a discussion on Khan's visit to Iran in National Assembly, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khurrum Dastigir said, "Prime Minister's statement is against the national security as for the first time he has admitted the use of (the country's) soil for terrorism in Iran".

Analysts say Pakistani leaders would have worked hard during the two-day visit to establish cooperate with their Iranian counterparts on the issue.

He said Iran is also ready to increase exports of electricity to Pakistan. In March, Rouhani demanded Pakistan act "decisively against anti-Iranian terrorists".

Pakistan is a close ally of the United States and Saudi Arabia, both of which have ratcheted up pressure on Iran over its alleged meddling in regional affairs. President Rouhani received Prime Minister Imran Khan and a guard of honour was given to the visiting dignitary.

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