The United States has asked Uzbekistan to join the multinational coalition fighting the Islamic State group.
Daniel Rosenblum, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Central Asia, told reporters August 27 during a visit to Tashkent that he extended the invitation and asked Uzbekistan to contribute in any way it sees fit.
The war against IS involves not only a military component, Rosenblum said, but intelligence gathering and efforts to stop the flow of financing to IS.
A mainly Muslim nation with a population of 31 million, Uzbekistan has been a strategic NATO partner assisting in the war on the Taliban movement in neighboring Afghanistan.
Rosenblum noted "closer ties and better sharing information between our security establishments." And he lauded Uzbekistan for progress in eliminating child labor in cotton fields -- a practice for which Uzbekistan had been strongly criticized.
He said that more needs to be done, however, to eliminate involuntary adult labor in cotton production, which along with gold production is an important part of Uzbekistan's economy.
Based on reporting by Reuters and Trend News Agency