An Afghan Special Forces convoy is seen during the rescue mission of a police officer under siege at a checkpoint surrounded by the Taliban, in Kandahar province (Reuters)
WASHINGTON: The United States, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan will establish a new four-sided diplomatic group to advance the Afghan peace process, stability and trade in the region, the US State Department said Friday.
In a press release, the State Department said, “Representatives from the United States, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan agreed in principle to establish a new four-way diplomatic platform aimed at improving regional connectivity.”
The State Department said the parties view long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan as crucial for regional connectivity and agree that peace and regional connectivity reinforce each other.
The parties see the creation of the group as a means to enhance regional trade, build new transit routes and strengthen business ties. “The parties have agreed to hold a meeting in the coming months to discuss the details of their future cooperation, which is expected to be based on mutual consensus,” the press release said.
This development comes as the security situation in Afghanistan deteriorated following the withdrawal of US military forces from the country. Construction should be completed by the end of August.
As the Taliban continues to conquer new territory, US officials are in talks with Afghanistan’s neighbors to support Afghan forces. Other South and Central Asian countries are also in talks to promote peace talks.