Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev committed his country to better military and economic relations with Afghanistan during a December 2017 visit by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. The countries reached agreements on trade, education, health care, and the formation of a joint commission to boost security along the Uzbek-Afghan border. The issues of terrorism, extremism and narcotics trafficking were also on the presidential agenda at the meeting in Tashkent.
Deals also included construction of a new electrical transmission line from Uzbekistan to Afghanistan and construction of a rail line between the Afghan cities of Herat and Mazar-e Sharif. President Mirziyoyev reiterated his country’s support for peace and stability in Afghanistan.
“Tashkent strongly values cooperation with Afghanistan in all spheres, including economic and security ties. Cooperation agreements signed between the two nations are worth millions of dollars,” the Uzbek president said.
President Ghani thanked the Uzbek leader for promoting regional cooperation.
“Afghanistan supports Uzbekistan’s position adopted at the U.N., which is highlighted in President Donald Trump’s new strategy,” Ghani said. “The government and people of Afghanistan want Uzbekistan as a trading partner, which would be for the benefit of both countries.”
Among the discussions between the two leaders was a plan to jointly police the Afghanistan-Uzbekistan Friendship Bridge over the Amu Darya river in the town of Hairatan, Afghanistan. Uzbekistan’s leaders have recently become vociferous in their ambitions to improve relations with their geographical neighbors. In an address to the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2017, President Mirziyoyev set the new tone.
“A peaceful and economically prosperous Central Asia is our most important goal and key task,”Uzbekistan’s leader said.
Sources: TOLO News, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty