Blinken Meets Top Tajik, Uzbek Diplomats, With Afghanistan In Sharp Focus.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with the top diplomats of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan on July 1, with Afghanistan high on the agenda as U.S. forces prepare to exit the war-torn country and Washington seeks Central Asian partners.

The meetings in Washington come as the Taliban has taken control of dozens of districts in recent weeks, raising concerns that the Western-backed government in Kabul and Afghan security forces may collapse.

The Taliban sweep across northern Afghanistan has put several districts bordering Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the insurgency’s hands, presenting a possible security threat to the two Central Asian countries.

Tajik officials are preparing for a possible influx of refugees, while Uzbekistan last month announced military drills along the border.

“We have strong shared interests when it comes to security in the region, particularly with regard to Afghanistan,” Blinken said in brief remarks alongside Uzbekistan Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov.

Kamilov said his discussions with Blinken would “pay serious attention to the situation in the region.”

Separately, in his meeting with Tajikistan Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin, Blinken discussed Afghanistan and “affirmed the U.S. commitment to Tajikistan’s security, stability, and territorial integrity,” according to a State Department readout.

Even as U.S. troops leave Afghanistan, the United States has vowed to continue to provide support to the Afghan government and security forces, including the option of launching air strikes against the Taliban using warplanes from outside the country.

When President Joe Biden earlier this year announced U.S. forces would exit Afghanistan by September, he said the United States would “not take our eye off the terrorist threat in Afghanistan.”

“The United States will reorganize our counterterrorism capabilities and assets in the region to prevent the reemergence of a terrorist threat in Afghanistan,” he said.
In recent weeks, media reports, including from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, have suggested U.S. officials are looking to reposition some forces in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in order to keep track of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, given the two countries’ proximity to Afghanistan.

Potential options, according to U.S. officials, include putting troops, drones, bombers, and intelligence assets at bases or facilities in the two Central Asian countries.

Other options under consideration are using U.S. forces in the Middle East and navy ships at sea.

The prospect of U.S. troops in Central Asia may come up against opposition from Russia and China, two U.S. rivals with influence in the region.

Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

https://www.rferl.org/

Related news
Date Set For Trial Of Belarusian Opposition Figures.

Date Set For Trial Of Belarusian Opposition Figures.

Lawyers for the two, who are members of the opposition Coordination Council, said they were informed by the Minsk regional court on July 28 that their clients' trial will be held behind closed doors on August 4.

Radio Free Europe

Capitol Police officer shares emotional testimony

Capitol Police officer shares emotional testimony

Sergeant Aquilino Gonell shares an emotional firsthand account during a House committee hearing into the January 6th Capitol riot. #CNN #News

FBI survey evidence as probe into assassination shows signs of coverup.

FBI survey evidence as probe into assassination shows signs of coverup.

Haitian judicial sources tell CNN there are severe irregularities occurring throughout the investigation into the killing of Haiti's president Jovenel Moise. CNN's Matt Rivers looks into what appears to be an ongoing effort to obstruct the investi...

Surprise! Trump’s ‘election fraud’ fundraising is not what it seems.

Surprise! Trump’s ‘election fraud’ fundraising is not what it seems.

Former President Donald Trump talked a good game about fundraising to fight “election fraud,” but not all of the funds raised by his political PAC are being used for that purpose. In the latest episode of The Point, CNN’s Chris Cillizza explains w...

Biden speaks to Intelligence Community workforce

Biden speaks to Intelligence Community workforce

Pres. Biden visits the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, where he will address the Intelligence Community workforce and its leadership #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News ...

Lindsey Graham slams Biden admin for not having Border Patrol's back.

Lindsey Graham slams Biden admin for not having Border Patrol's back.

South Carolina Republican weighs in on the increase of COVID-19 cases at the border on 'The Story' #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news se...

Rep. Davis sounds off on unanswered questions surrounding Jan. 6

Rep. Davis sounds off on unanswered questions surrounding Jan. 6

Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., Pelosi-appointed January 6 Select Committee, says that lingering questions surrounding the Capitol riots must be resolved. Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (...