A broad agenda on bilateral cooperation, including activation of economic ties, was discussed during the visit of Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Bakhtiyor Saidov to Kabul on March 12−13, as reported in the minister’s Telegram channel.

Marking his first visit to the country as foreign minister, Bakhtiyor Saidov was accompanied by representatives from both the government of Uzbekistan and the private sector.

Special attention was paid to creating “creating the most favorable conditions for business communities to have better engagements with each other,” the minister of foreign affairs noted.

“We have rich and shared history, common traditions and future. There are many avenues we can jointly utilize,” his message concluded.

Bakhtiyor Saidov and Acting Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund.Bakhtiyor Saidov and Acting Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund.

In Kabul, Bakhtiyor Saidov conducted meetings and negotiations with officials of the Interim Government of Afghanistan. Those include Acting Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, Acting Deputy Prime Minister Mawlawi Abdul Salam Hanafi, Acting Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqqi, Acting Minister of Interior Affairs Khalifa Sirajuddin Haqqani, and Acting Minister of Commerce and Industry Nooriddin Azizi.

Bakhtiyor Saidov and Acting Deputy Prime Minister Mawlawi Abdul Salam Hanafi.Bakhtiyor Saidov and Acting Deputy Prime Minister Mawlawi Abdul Salam Hanafi.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Barodar emphasized in the discussions that Afghanistan is pursuing an “economy-oriented foreign policy with a priority on regional connectivity,” his press office reported.

Bakhtiyor Saidov and Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqqi.Bakhtiyor Saidov and Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqqi.

Cooperation with Uzbekistan is of particular necessity, he stated, noting the interest in increasing transit through Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, expanding the railway network, increasing investment in Afghanistan, addressing transportation and customs challenges, supporting the Afghans residing in Uzbekistan. He also emphasized collaborative efforts in providing higher education opportunities for youth.

During discussions on water management and agricultural development, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar referred to the Qosh Tepa Canal under construction in northern Afghanistan as “a long-standing aspiration of the Afghan people hindered by prolonged conflicts and instability.”

He advocated for “equitable utilization of the [Amudaryo] river akin to other countries in the Amu River basin”, mentioning that “with the re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate, progress [of construction] on this canal has commenced, ensuring the rights of Afghans without causing concern to neighboring countries”.

afghanistan, bakhtiyor saidov, ministry of foreign affairs

Minister of foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Bakhtiyor Saidov, as per report, reaffirmed the country’s commitment to strengthening political and economic ties with Afghanistan.

He offered Uzbekistan’s technical support for the construction of a canal and modern irrigation systems.

The ministerial discussion covered trade and transit matters, including the simplification of visa issuance to businesspeople and transportation personnel to enhance economic cooperation, the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan reported.

Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqqi raised concerns on electricity shortage imported from Uzbekistan, noting that it affects both residents and economic sectors in winter.

Bakhtiyor Saidov asserted Uzbekistan’s continuous support of Afghanistan, calling for its recognition as a part of Central Asia and the international community.

He also expressed interest in investing in Afghanistan’s cement production, coal mining and coal-based electricity generation.

In February, it was reported that the reconstruction of the Hairatan-Mazar-e-Sharif railroad line had started with the participation of Uzbekistan Railways specialists.

In early March, the press service of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan shared Uzbekistan’s intention to introduce a 15-day visa-free regime for businesspeople from Afghanistan working in the international trade center in Termez (currently set at 10 days).