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Afghanistan on agenda of EU-Central Asia talks in Dushanbe

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KABUL: A high-level EU delegation held talks on Monday with foreign ministers from Central Asia to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, regional cooperation and human rights.

During the talks in Dushanbe, Tajikistan capital, EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell and Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen asked Afghanistan’s neighbours to prevent human trafficking. He called on Central Asian partners to alert their airlines and travel agencies to prevent the transport of migrants to Belarus.

The meeting comes at a time when the crisis in Afghanistan is high on the agenda, with security and migration dominating the bloc’s concerns vis-a-vis the region.

Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan share a border with Afghanistan.

In the meeting, held behind closed doors, it was reportedly agreed that humanitarian aid and regional cooperation are urgently needed to prevent spillover effects from Taliban takeover.

Speaking at the same briefing, Urpilainen said she had presented to the former Soviet republics the bloc’s a €1 billion Afghan support package, almost half of which is in fact earmarked for neighbouring countries impacted by the crisis.

In a joint communiqué issued after the meeting, both sides expressed “shared concern about the regional repercussions of developments in Afghanistan” and “stressed the importance of preventing the Afghan territory from being used as a base for hosting, financing or exporting terrorism to other countries.”

Participants pledged to intensify cooperation between the EU and Central Asia in areas such as the fight against terrorism, organised crime, human trafficking as well as migrant smuggling and said they looked forward to intensifying EU-Central Asia cooperation in managing borders.

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