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U.S., Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan Agree To Form New Quadrilateral Platform on Regional Connectivity

July 17, 2021 (EIRNS)—The State Department announced yesterday that representatives of the United States, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan—that is, the U.S. and the three countries concerned with the development of an economic-transportation corridor from the Pakistan port of Gwadar to Uzbekistan, passing through Afghanistan—agreed in principle to establish a new quadrilateral diplomatic platform focused on enhancing regional connectivity. “Recognizing the historic opportunity to open flourishing interregional trade routes, the parties intend to cooperate to expand trade, build transit links, and strengthen business-to-business ties,” it said. “The parties agreed to meet in the coming months to determine the modalities of this cooperation with mutual consensus.”

What this quad arrangement means beyond the statement, however, remains unclear, as very little has been revealed about the process leading to the agreement beyond the fact that Zalmay Khalilzad, the special U.S. envoy for Afghanistan, was present at the conference on connectivity in Tashkent on July 15-16, where the document was apparently signed. For the U.S. to join in cooperative development of Afghanistan and others in the region would be a phase change from the recent anti-China hysteria, sanctions and war-mongering. It should be strongly encouraged to make that change.

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