Taliban delegation meets top Uzbek govt. officials

August 14, 2018

TEHRAN - In a significant development that underscores the growing clout of the Taliban, a delegation from the militant group reportedly met officials in Uzbekistan last week to discuss issues related to transport and power lines and peace in Afghanistan.

The group’s political office in a statement said members of the Taliban delegation were on a five-day trip to the country last week, which coincided with the group’s talks with the U.S. officials in Doha.

Muhammad Sohail Shaheen, spokesman for the Taliban’s political office, said the Taliban representatives met Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdul Aziz Kamilov and Special Representative for Afghanistan Ismatulla Irgashev during the visit between August 6 and 10.

The spokesman said they “discussed current and future national projects such as security for railroad and power lines.” “Views were also exchanged with officials of Uzbekistan about the withdrawal of foreign forces and how to achieve peace in Afghanistan,” he said.

The statement was issued at a time when Taliban fighters were battling Afghan security forces for control of the strategic city of Ghazni. Fierce fighting between the two sides continues in different parts of the country, deteriorating security situation further.

Last month the UN in a report stated that the civilian deaths in the war-ravaged had reached a record high in the first half of this year, compounding woes of the Afghan government ahead of elections next year.

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