Jaishankar meets Uzbek counterpart in Dushanbe; discusses Afghan situation

·2-min read

New Delhi, Jul 13 (PTI) External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday met his Uzbek counterpart Abdulaziz Kamilov in Dushanbe and discussed the situation in war-torn Afghanistan.

Jaishankar, who arrived in the Tajik capital on Tuesday for a two-day visit to attend the meetings of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council of Foreign Ministers and the SCO Contact Group on Afghanistan, also discussed connectivity and bilateral ties with Kamilov.

After attending the meetings in Tajikistan, Jaishankar will travel to Uzbekistan to attend the Tashkent Connectivity Conference.

'Met FM Kamilov of Uzbekistan today. Discussed connectivity, bilateral ties and the Afghanistan situation. Look forward to attending the Tashkent Connectivity Conference,' Jaishankar tweeted after meeting Kamilov.

Earlier in the day, the external affairs minister also met his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Haneef Atmar, who briefed him about the situation in the war-torn country amid growing security concerns over Taliban fighters rapidly seizing control of a large number of areas.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi are also here to attend the key SCO meetings. While Jaishankar is expected to hold bilateral talks with foreign ministers of some of the participating countries on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meet, there was no official word on any bilateral interaction or pull aside with Pakistan or China.

The SCO contact group meeting on Afghanistan assumes significance as it comes amidst growing global concerns over Taliban fighters rapidly seizing control of a large number of areas in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has witnessed a series of terror attacks in the last few weeks as the US looked to complete the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan by August-end, ending a nearly two-decade of its military presence in the war-ravaged country.

A major stakeholder in the peace and stability of Afghanistan, India has already invested nearly USD 3 billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country.

The SCO, seen as a counterweight to NATO, is an eight-member economic and security bloc and has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organisations.

India and Pakistan became its permanent members in 2017.

The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. PTI ASK ANB ANB

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