Uzbekistan ready to host Taliban-Afghan govt talks

February 7, 2019

TEHRAN - Peace in war-torn Afghanistan has often been linked to peace and stability in the region because of the country’s strategic geographical location.

Many regional countries have offered to mediate talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, including China, Iran, Pakistan and Russia. The latest to join the bandwagon is Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan has expressed its readiness to host talks between the Afghan government officials and the Taliban negotiators, according to reports.

Uzbekistan's Foreign Ministry in a statement said Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov extended the offer in Tashkent on February 5 to the United Nations' Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamamoto.

The ministry quoted Kamilov as saying that Uzbekistan is prepared to provide all necessary conditions for direct talks between the government of Afghanistan and Taliban negotiators to be organized "at any stage" of an Afghan peace process.

Uzbekistan started actively promoting regional cooperation after President Shavkat Mirziyoev took over power following the death of his predecessor Islam Karimov in 2016.

As a neighbor of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan sees the resurgence of Taliban in the country a threat to neighboring countries too and wants to play an active role in bringing them to the negotiating table, said a source.

Meanwhile, the talks between the Afghan leaders and the insurgent group are currently underway in Moscow. Although the Afghan government has distanced itself from the talks, many senior Afghan politicians are participating in the summit.

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