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Pakistan and Afghanistan's intelligence services have agreed to share information and even cooperate on the ground, according to officials, signalling a possible thaw in relations after decades of distrust and recriminations.
The two often-competing spy networks would in the future cooperate on “int[elligence] sharing, complimentary and coordinated int[elligence] op[erations]s," Pakistani military’s spokesperson Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa announced via twitter on Monday.
The news that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) had reached the new security agreement was confirmed Tuesday by the Afghan agency's spokesperson Hassib Sediqi. He rejected reports, however, that the ISI would train and equip Afghan spies.
Kabul and Islamabad have long blamed each other’s spy agencies for supporting insurgent groups, including different factions of the Taliban, who use one country as a safe haven to launch attacks against the other.
Relations between the two countries worsened after U.S.-backed forces toppled the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. NATO and Afghan officials often accused Pakistan of backing and sheltering Afghanistan's militants, a charge that Pakistan leveled against Kabul as it attacked its own insurgencies.
The tense relationship between the two has improved somewhat since Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani was elected in Sept. 2014.
Pakistan's intelligence chief, chief of army staff and prime minister visited Kabul last week, while Afghanistan's military chief went to Islamabad in April. In the past few months, military cooperation between the two countries increased, as Afghan military cadets were enrolled by Kabul in Pakistan's military academy and commanders on both sides of the porous 1,398-mile border set up hotlines to better communicate with each other as they fight insurgents.
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Reuters contributed to this report.