KABUL: Uzbekistan offered to host direct talks for peace between the Afghan government and the Taliban, an official Afghan statement announced on Sunday.
Tashkent and Kabul are working together closely on a number of regional development projects amid renewed warmth in bilateral ties.
An Uzbek delegation, headed by National Security Adviser Viktor Mahmudov, and including Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov and other officials visited Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani at the presidency in the capital Kabul on Sunday.
Ghani welcomed the growing regional cooperation that can promote stability.
“President Ghani also appreciated the readiness of Uzbekistan to host peace talks, saying that Samarkand is a common cultural heritage of the two countries”, read a statement by the Afgan presidency.
“Minister Kamilov reaffirmed that Uzbekistan supports Afghan-led, intra-Afghan peace process and is ready to host meetings on Afghan Peace process,” it added.
“Afghan National Security Adviser (NSA) Hamdullah Mohib thanked Uzbekistan for supporting peace talks and recognized other areas of mutual cooperation between two countries”, the Office of the National Security Council of Afghanistan tweeted following the meeting.
It is pivotal to note that Kamilov went to meet the head of the Taliban’s political office in Qatar, Mulla Baradar Akhund, in Doha on March 3 and discussed prospects of peaceful settlement of the Afghan crisis. Both the Taliban and Tashkent have acknowledged this meeting.