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International relations

ISIS-K threat to Uzbek railway dream opens doors for Taliban

Isolated Afghan rulers offer Central Asia assurances at conference

The Taliban's foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, in January: He attended a conference in Tashket this week, where he offered assurances about terrorist groups operating from Afghan soil.   © Reuters

ISLAMABAD -- An Islamic State group affiliate's threats to Central Asia are opening diplomatic doors for Afghanistan's Taliban rulers, particularly in Uzbekistan, which fears the danger could upend plans for a transnational railway to reach Pakistani ports.

On Tuesday, a Taliban delegation led by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi attended an international conference in Tashkent, the Uzbek capital. The event was ostensibly held to discuss "security, economic growth and regional connectivity of Afghanistan," and gave the Taliban a chance to discuss foreign investment and aid as it seeks greater international recognition.

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