Tashkent, Feb 4 (IANS) US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was in Uzbekistan as part of his ongoing foreign tour, has urged the Taliban to show clear signs that they were committed to reducing violence and promoting peace in Afghanistan.

“What we are demanding now (of the Taliban) is demonstrable evidence of their will and capacity to reduce violence, to take down the threat, so the inter-Afghan talks will have a less violent context,” Efe news quoted Pompeo as saying at a press conference here on Monday.

Pompeo recalled that US authorities and the Taliban had been on the verge of reaching an agreement but that the Afghan militant group “weren’t able to demonstrate either their will or their capacity, or both, to deliver on a reduction in violence”.

The top diplomat added that the goal of peace and stability will need to be achieved via “negotiations of, by and among the Afghans”.Joining Pompeo at Monday’s press conference was Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov, who said his country was engaged in the process of peaceful reconciliation in the neighbouring Afghanistan “because it touches on our lives and the national interest and interest of security of our state”.

Kamilov praised the policy currently being pursued in the region by the US, which invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, weeks after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, and began hunting for Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden who was eventually killed by American forces in Pakistan in 2011.

On Monday, the Foreign Ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan met Pompeo in Tashkent under the C5+1 framework and addressed the situation in Afghanistan, security issues and regional cooperation.

The C5+1 was launched in November 2015 with the aim of addressing common security and environmental challenges, improving regional trade flows and enhancing prospects for US trade and investment with the Central Asian nations, whose neighbours include China, Iran, Russia and Afghanistan.

Pompeo’s visit to Uzbekistan wrapped up a multi-day foreign tour which also took him to the UK, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

–IANS

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