The new Taliban government of Afghanistan is really eager to be integrated into the regional and broader international community. They are ready to take some positive steps — such a confidence has been messaged by the minister of foreign affairs of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov in an interview with the Russian TV channel Rossiya24.
In early October, the head of the Uzbek Foreign Ministry led a delegation to Kabul. Then the parties reached agreements signaling that the important regional projects will not stop. They include the construction of the Surkhan-Puli-Khumri power transmission line and the Mazar-I-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway.
The string of diplomatic efforts was followed by a meeting in the Uzbek border Termez with an Afghan delegation led by the second Deputy Prime Minister of the Taliban government Abdul Salam Hanafi. “We have agreed to cooperate not only vertically – at the level of the country’s leadership, but also horizontally so that each ministry and department coordinates their actions, and in almost all areas – border security, economic relations, trade, humanitarian assistance, education,” Kamilov said.
The Uzbek top diplomat mentioned full convergence of the positions of Tashkent and Moscow on the Afghanistan policy. The countries of the Moscow format are unanimous in the belief that it is necessary to work with the Taliban. “The well-voiced idea in Sergey Lavrov’s speech [at a meeting of the Moscow format] that this is reality you are unable to escape, because we need to work together in this direction. There are no other alternatives. One thing is to have direct contact, try to influence and encourage, to help. But another thing is sitting on another continent, to claim the creation of an inclusive government. These are different things,” the minister stressed.
Uzbek FM particularly commended the readiness of the Taliban to move towards regional and international partnership. “Naturally, after forty years of war and the existence of various ideologies, it will difficult to realize the changes. Nevertheless, they [the Taliban] are already taking some steps that we support, encourage and will work with them in this regard,” he added.
Kamilov mentioned the gender issues and told how after the Uzbek delegation’s trip to the border province of Balkh, the girls went to school the next day. Then the same happened in other regions.
As the Minister of Foreign Affairs noted, Uzbekistan, which established contacts with the Taliban back in the 90s, has never broken off interacting with the movement in one way or another. “From our experience of communicating with Afghans and partners in the Muslim world, I can say that the solution of many important issues in the East has its own specific side, and therefore the existing standard approaches are not always productive,” the minister stated.
At the recent second meeting of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries in Tehran, Uzbekistan made a proposal to develop a post-conflict strategy for Afghanistan in order to prevent the international isolation of this country. /// nCa, 1 November 2021
Full text of the interview is available here: https://mfa.uz/ru/press/news/2021/intervyu-ministra-inostrannyh-del-respubliki-uzbekistan-ahkamilova-telekanalu-rossiya-24—30711