The Tajik Minister of Foreign Affairs Sirojiddin Muhriddin met on July 1 in Washington on the sidelines of the eighth U.S.-Tajik Annual Bilateral Consultations, according to the Tajik MFA information department.  

During the meeting, the parties reportedly discussed bilateral relations between Tajikistan and the United States in the political, economic, security, health and humanitarian spheres, cooperation within the framework of the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) programs, as well as joint efforts to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus infection.

They also exchanged views on a number of international and regional issues being of mutual interest, the Tajik MFA information department said.  

With regard to the situation in the region they reportedly noted the need to expand cooperation in the joint efforts to address modern threats and challenges, including terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking and other transnational organized crime.

The U.S. State Department’s website notes that Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken reaffirmed the strength and importance of the U.S.-Tajikistan bilateral relationship and expressed his appreciation for Foreign Minister Muhriddin’s continued leadership on regional security issues.

The Secretary and the Foreign Minister reportedly agreed that a just and durable settlement in Afghanistan would advance regional economic growth and integration.  The Secretary expressed a desire for further bilateral collaboration on promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as economic development, and affirmed the U.S. commitment to Tajikistan’s security, stability, and territorial integrity.

Meanwhile, Radio Liberty says U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with the top diplomats of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan 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 reportedly sweep across northern Afghanistan has put several districts bordering Tajikistan and Uzbekistan 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.