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

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 Taleban 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.