Uzbekistan sends 150 Afghan refugees back home

TASHKENT, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Uzbekistan has sent 150 Afghan refugees back to Afghanistan as per an agreement with the Taliban and after requests from the refugees themselves, the Uzbek foreign ministry said on Friday.

The refugees had been given security guarantees and all have reported they were able to return safely to their homes after the "necessary formalities", the ministry said in a statement.

It is unclear how many Afghans have crossed into the former Soviet republic as Taliban insurgents overran Afghanistan. The Tashkent government has denied that senior Afghan figures such as ethnic Uzbek leader Abdul Rashid Dustum were among them.

The Uzbek foreign ministry said in a separate statement that minister Abdulaziz Kamilov discussed the situation in Afghanistan with United States Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman on Friday.

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Reporting by Mukhammadsharif Mamatkulov in Tashkent and Maria Kiselyova in Moscow; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Andrew Osborn and David Clarke

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