Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, the head of the Taliban’s political office in Qatar has travelled to Uzbekistan last week where he has held talks with senior officials from Uzbekistan’s Foreign Ministry, Taliban and Uzbek officials confirmed.
The Uzbek Foreign Ministry said that the two sides have “exchanged views on peace prospects in Afghanistan”. The Taliban insurgent group also confirmed the visit in a statement posted online on Sunday.
According to the statement, a delegation of Taliban has visited Uzbekistan from August 6 to August 10 after a formal invitation from Uzbekistan.
The talks focused on a range of issues, including the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan, peace and Uzbek development projects in Afghanistan such as security for railroad and power lines, the statement said.
The insurgent group added that their delegation has met with Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdul Aziz Kamilov and the Special Representative of the President of Uzbekistan for Afghanistan Ismatulla Irgashev.
There was no immediate reaction from Afghan officials in Kabul.
The development came months after Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev offered to host talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
“We stand ready to create all necessary conditions, at any stage of the peace process, to arrange direct talks between the government of Afghanistan and Taliban movement,” President Mirziyoyev had told an international peace conference in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent on March 28.
The conference on the ‘Peace Process, Security Cooperation and Regional Connectivity’, which endorsed the Afghan government’s unconditional offer of direct talks with the Taliban, was backed by the international community.
The ‘Tashkent Declaration’ issued at the conference called upon the Taliban to accept the offer for a peace process in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council.’