KABUL (Khaama Press): The US Department of State has issued a joint statement following the meeting of Special Representatives and Special Envoys for Afghanistan from the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, the Republic of Uzbekistan, and the United States. This gathering took place within the framework of the C5+1 regional diplomatic platform. Per the statement, the delegates convened in Astanan, Kazakhstan, on July 27th. They discussed the continuing need for all countries in the region and the broader international community to support an inclusive, united, sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Afghanistan that is free of terrorism, respects the rights of its population, including women and girls, and is at peace with itself and its neighbours and emphasized preventing Afghanistan from becoming a terrorism base, affirmed enhancing cooperation against trafficking, arms trade, and illegal drugs. They acknowledged that Afghanistan’s dire humanitarian and economic situation demands a united international effort addressing all dimensions. This includes granting humanitarian access and respecting International Humanitarian Law principles. The participants “reiterated that the goal of a stable, economically viable and peaceful Afghanistan is only attainable if all Afghans, including women and girls, and persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities, can fully, equally, and meaningfully participate in—and contribute to—the country’s future; and highlighted the need for an inclusive process of dialogue on the country’s political future that focuses on, among other things, the establishment of accountable and representative governing bodies,” the statement reads. They also restated their commitment to upholding freedom of movement and underscored the significance of initiatives that enhance regional connectivity. This includes advancing energy infrastructure projects and expanding transportation networks that link Central Asia to South Asia via Afghanistan, thereby facilitating transit trade. The group lauded the “significant decreases” in opium poppy cultivation in 2023. However, they voiced apprehension about the ongoing opiate exports and synthetic drug production in Afghanistan.