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

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

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

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.

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

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

The US government continues to support the development of Kazakhstan's health and education sectors, said Wren Elhai, US embassy spokesperson in Astana.

Kazakhstan produced a documentary about the successful results of President Nursultan Nazarbayev's January 16-18 visit to Washington.

Uzbekistan is demonstrating its readiness to support the Afghan government's effort to build a peaceful future, officials and specialists say.

The US and Kazakhstani presidents discussed the enhanced strategic partnership between Astana and Washington and resolved to strengthen co-operation on political and security issues.

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