The European Union's top diplomat on Monday urged Afghanistan's northern neighbors to help prevent what he described as the abuse of migrants for political goals by the Belarusian authorities.

The 17th EU-Central Asia Ministerial meeting in Dushanbe comes at a time when the crisis in Afghanistan is high on the agenda, with security and migration dominating the bloc’s concerns vis-a-vis the region.

EURACTIV reports that according to a EU diplomat, Mr. Borrell called on Central Asian partners to alert their airlines and travel agencies to prevent the transport of migrants to Belarus.

“I updated ministers on the situation on the borders of the EU with Belarus and requested their support in preventing this instrumentalization of human beings at the risk of their life: cheating people, convincing them that there is a way to Europe through a flight to Minsk,” Borrell told reporters after the talks.

Uzbekistan is one of the latest countries that has imposed restrictions on flights to Belarus for transit passengers from a half-dozen countries, including from Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Syria and Yemen, EU foreign policy chief told reporters in Dushanbe on Monday.

Borrell and Uzbekistan’s foreign minister Abdulaziz Kamilov had already discussed the plan during a dinner meeting in Brussels in mid-November, the same EU diplomat said, according to EURACTIV.

The EU accuses Belarus of flying in thousands of people from the Middle East and pushing them to cross into the bloc via Poland, Lithuania and Latvia in retaliation for EU sanctions imposed on Belarus over authoritarian ruler Alexander Lukashenko's crushing of protests against his disputed re-election last year.