Uzbekistan temporarily opens Friendship Bridge on border with Afghanistan

Shavkat Mirziyoyev Uzbekistan's president

President Shavkat Mirziyoyev says country ready to support Afghans if they are willing to strive for peace.

The president of Uzbekistan said Friday that his country temporarily opened the Friendship Bridge on the border with Afghanistan to support Afghans as of Thursday.

“Afghan people are in need of support, if they are willing to strive for peace, we are then ready to support them,” Shavkat Mirziyoyev said during a visit to the northern Navoiy region.

He said Uzbekistan is helping to transport food aid coming from other foreign states to Afghanistan via railway, which is the only railroad that goes to the Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

Citing communication with the Taliban two years ago, Mirziyoyev said Taliban co-founder Ghani Baradar promised not to attack Uzbekistan.

“It is natural for us to communicate with them as they have been faithful to their word,” he added.

At least 170 people, including 13 US soldiers, were killed in explosions outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Thursday, where thousands of people have been camped for weeks in hopes of leaving Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover.

The Taliban seized control of most of Afghanistan after lightning advances that included the capital Kabul on Aug. 15, forcing former President Ashraf Ghani and other top officials to leave the country.