Taliban travel to Uzbekistan for talks with officials

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Taliban and Uzbek officials say the head of the Taliban's political office in Qatar led a delegation to Uzbekistan to meet senior Foreign Ministry officials in a rare diplomatic foray — and the strongest sign yet of the insurgency's increasing political presence in the region.

Taliban political chief Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai represented the insurgents in the four-day talks that ended Friday.

Suhail Shaheen, spokesman for the Taliban's political office in Doha, said in a statement to The Associated Press that discussions covered everything from international troop withdrawal to peace prospects to possible Uzbek-funded development projects that could include railway lines and electricity.

Uzbek's Foreign Affairs Ministry website offered a terse two-line announcement on the visit saying "the sides exchanged views on prospects of the peace process in Afghanistan. "