Russia hosts Afghan talks, recognises Taliban ‘efforts’ - GulfToday

Russia hosts Afghan talks, recognises Taliban ‘efforts’


Members of the Taliban delegation attend an international conference on Afghanistan in Moscow. AFP

Gulf Today Report

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday recognised Taliban “efforts” to try and stabilise the situation in volatile Afghanistan as Moscow hosted the Islamist regime for international talks.

Russia is seeking to assert its influence on Central Asia and push for action against Daesh fighters, which it says have massed in perennially volatile Afghanistan.


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 “A new administration is in power now,” Lavrov told the gathering. “We note their efforts to stabilize the military and political situation and set up work of the state apparatus."

Members of the Taliban delegation attend an international conference on Afghanistan in Moscow. AFP

The talks, which draw officials from 10 countries including China and Pakistan, are one of the Taliban's most significant international meetings since seizing power in mid-August.

They come after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned last week that IS fighters were gathering in Afghanistan to spread discord in former Soviet republics flanking Russia.

Russia's veteran foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, is set to address the gathering.

Russia had worked for years to establish contacts with the Taliban, even though it has designated the group a terrorist organization in 2003 and never took it of the list.

Russian presidential envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov (left) shakes hands with a member of the Taliban delegation Shahabuddin Dilawar prior to an international conference in Moscow on Wednesday. AFP

Any contact with such groups is punishable under Russian law, but the Foreign Ministry has responded to questions about the apparent contradiction by saying that its exchanges with the Taliban are essential for helping stabilize Afghanistan.

The Soviet Union fought a 10-year war in Afghanistan that ended with its troops withdrawing in 1989. In recent years, Moscow has made a strong comeback as an influential power broker in international talks on Afghanistan, hosting the Taliban representatives and members of other factions for bilateral and multilateral meetings.


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