Taliban hold talks with Uzbek officials on peace, infrastructure

Taliban hold talks with Uzbek officials on peace, infrastructure
Taliban officials traveled to the Uzbek capital for talks with officials on energy, transportation and peace.
2 min read
12 August, 2018
The Taliban began an insurgency in 2001, following the US-led invasion of Afghanistan [Getty]
Taliban and Uzbek officials met in the capital of the Central Asian state earlier this month for discussions on pressing issues in Afghanistan such as transportation, energy and peace talks.

A Taliban delegation arrived in Uzbekistan for five days of talks, where the movement attempted to reassure its neighbour it was serious about peace and did not want to damage Afghanistan's infrastructure, according to Reuters.

In Tashkent they met Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdul Aziz Kamilov and Special Representative for Afghanistan Ismatulla Irgashev for five days of talks.

The Taliban have now opened a political office in the Uzbek capital, to develop better ties with Afghanistan's resource-rich neighbour, according to Reuters.

"[They] discussed current and future national projects such as security for railroad and power lines," the Taliban's political spokesperson Mohammed Sohail Shaheen told the agency.

The talks came amid prospects of peace between the Taliban and Afghan government, with hopes of a second ceasefire for the upcoming Eid al-Adha holidays, following a successful truce in June.

But it also comes as fierce fighting takes hold of Afghanistan, as Taliban fighters and Afghan security forces battle for control of the eastern city of Ghazni.

Taliban officials have said that the opening of the political office is a signal to Afghanistan's neighbours that the movement is ready for peace and are willing to step away from violent rebellion.

A major demand of the insurgents is the withdrawal of foreign forces, the Taliban say.

"Views were also exchanged with officials of Uzbekistan about the withdrawal of foreign forces and how to achieve peace in Afghanistan," the Taliban official said.

The Taliban another political office in Qatar, where talks have been held with US diplomats on a possible peace plan to end war in Afghanistan which has raged since 2001.

Uzbekistan is a close ally of Russia, who the US have accused of arming the Taliban and setting up rival peace talks to scupper its own negotiations with the insurgents. 

Agencies contributed to this story.

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab