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High-Level Conference On Afghanistan Opens In Uzbekistan

A general view of a multilateral meeting conference aiming to lay the ground for direct talks between Afghan government and the Taliban, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on March 27.

Uzbekistan on March 27 is hosting a multilateral meeting on Afghanistan aiming to lay the ground for direct talks between Kabul and the Taliban.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, and EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini are taking part in the talks in Tashkent.

The foreign ministers of Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia and Turkey are due to give speeches on March 27, while the United States is to be represented by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon.

The parties at the conference were expected to sign a declaration on Afghanistan before the end of the conference (EDS; arounf 1500 Prague time).

The Taliban are staying away from the event held in Tashkent.

Representatives of both Washington and NATO have in the past raised concerns that Moscow is supplying military aid to the militant group that ruled over much of Afghanistan from 1996 until it was toppled by a US-led invasion in 2001.

Moscow has rejected the claims.

Based on reporting by AFP and TASS