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By skipping a Tashkent summit on Afghanistan, the Taliban might have hurt their own cause, observers and participants say.

Access to the ports of Aktau and Kuryk will allow the United States to set up an alternative route to Afghanistan, bypassing Russia.

Despite repeated calls to participate in the Afghan-led peace process, the Taliban refused to attend the international conference in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Since the beginning of USAID's efforts, reading and comprehension of Kygyz schoolchildren have improved, project co-ordinators say.

The conference demonstrates international support for peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, stakeholders say. The Taliban failed to participate.

Independent investigations have dismissed the Kremlin's assertion that Wagner Group mercenaries are volunteers not affiliated with the Russian military.

The E-SUD system, supported by USAID and the UNDP, allows Uzbekistanis to more easily file court cases and reduces delays.

Central Asian officials are monitoring the movement of militants returning to their home countries from 'hot spots'., an electronic job placement centre launched in January, has already helped 19,000 Kazakhstanis find employment across the country.

Putin's election will result in the Kremlin's same old policies for Central Asia: using it as a backyard for military adventurism and treating the region's citizens as second class.

Central Asian leaders recently met for the first time without Russia, demonstrating that the region is unified, independent and working together, economists and political analysts say.

Militants coming to Afghanistan on behalf of the 'Islamic State' will find only death at the hands of Afghan and coalition forces, popular uprisings against militants, and resistance even from the Taliban.

The Russian-backed Syrian army has continued to violate the terms of a ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta, where more than 1,300 civilians, a fifth of them children, have been killed in recent weeks.

The presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan met in Astana for the first time in nine years to 'solve developing problems together'.

Almost 4 million Kazakhstanis will receive free medication in 2018 worth 128 billion KZT ($400 million), according to the Health Ministry.

Russian media outlets in Afghanistan and around the world routinely publish inaccurate news and exaggerations in a deliberate attempt to sow confusion -- to the benefit of the Kremlin.

The transition from opposition to co-operation could create favourable conditions for resolving many regional problems, analysts say.

One in three Central Asian women endures beatings, sexual abuse or other mistreatment, according to UN Women.

Indiscriminate airstrikes and use of barrel bombs, and the deployment of chemical weapons, have killed more than 900 civilians, including at least 179 children, since mid February.

The move seeks to ease business and leisure travel for Kazakhstani citizens and to open up the nation's economy.

The United States is working with Central Asian partners to improve security throughout the region and to ensure long-term stability.

The textbook was developed by USAID, Kyrgyz specialists and the WHO, and provides modern, country-specific information on the treatment and prevention of the disease.

The Russian president's saber rattling was just an attempt to sound tough ahead of national elections, observers say.

Terrorism continues to be a concern and the government's efforts to eliminate extremism merit support, according to the majority of respondents in a recent Uzbekistani poll.