The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with foreign ministers from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in Washington separately where the discussions were focused on the situation in the region, particularly Afghanistan in the view of foreign troops withdrawal.
The meetings take place at a time that the security situation in northern parts of Afghanistan bordering Central Asian nations has deteriorated in the past few weeks following Taliban’s increased offensives on the Afghan security forces.
Blinken meanwhile said that Central Asian countries and the US are bounded in shared interests when it comes to the situation in the region.
“We have strong shared interests when it comes to security in the region, particularly with regard to Afghanistan. Uzbekistan has been a leader in bringing countries in the region together particularly with regard to economic and infrastructure kind of activities,” said Blinken at a press briefing with his Uzbek counterpart Abdulaziz Kamilov in Washington.
Kamilov meanwhile said that during his stay in the US, he will speak about the situation in Afghanistan and the region.
“We will pay serious attention to the situation in the region, in Central Asia and about the change in the world and in the region. Of course, we will exchange views on the situation in Afghanistan too. We have a lot of issues to speak about,” said Kamilov.
“During these days, we will discuss our bilateral issues, regional and international issues and most important issue it is Afghanistan and on fighting against terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking and other important regional issues,” said Sirojiddin Muhriddin, Foreign Minister of Tajikistan.
“We have a lot of work to do across series of important issues that bring countries together whether it is security, economic issues, development, democracy,” Muhriddin said.
This comes a week after the Taliban last week took over Sher Khan Bandar border town in northern Afghanistan along the Afghanistan-Tajikistan border and then the group has now increased attacks around Hairatan town in Balkh province that shares a border with Uzbekistan.
An army commander in the north on Friday said that “hundreds of troops” have been deployed to protect the Hairatan border town in the northern province of Balkh.
Kaldar district has been contested between the government forces and the Taliban in the last few weeks, something that has threatened trade and transit through Hairatan.
The forces have been stationed at bases as close as five kilometers to the east and west of the border town, said Sayed Saadullah Hashemi, the deputy commander of Afghan Army’s 209 Shaheen Corps