A convoy of Afghan Special Forces is seen during the rescue mission of a policeman besieged at a check post surrounded by Taliban, in Kandahar province (Reuters)
WASHINGTON: The United States, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan will create a new quadrilateral diplomatic group to promote the Afghan peace process, stability and trade in the region, the US State Department said on Friday.
In a press release, the State Department said, “Representatives of the United States, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan agreed in principle to establish a new quadrilateral diplomatic platform focused on enhancing regional connectivity.”
The State Department said that the parties consider long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan critical to regional connectivity and agree that peace and regional connectivity are mutually reinforcing.
The parties see the establishment of the group as a means to bolster 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 release said.
This development comes as the security situation in Afghanistan has been deteriorating following the withdrawal of US military forces from the country. The drawdown is set to be complete by the end of August.
As the Taliban continues to seize new territory, US officials have been engaged in talks with countries neighboring Afghanistan to support the Afghan Defense Forces. Other south and central Asian countries are also engaged in talks to advance peace talks.