Russia tells 'hypocritical' Afghan government to negotiate with Taliban

Published July 14, 2021
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in this July 2015 file photo. — Photo courtesy: Kremlin
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in this July 2015 file photo. — Photo courtesy: Kremlin

The Kremlin's most senior Afghanistan official accused the Afghan government of hypocrisy on Wednesday and said it needed to start proper negotiations with the Taliban about the country's future before it was too late.

Zamir Kabulov, President Vladimir Putin's special representative on Afghanistan, issued the warning ahead of talks about the Afghan crisis in Tajikistan where foreign ministers from the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation were meeting.

Kabulov, in an interview with Russia's RIA news agency, said that while the Afghan government paid lip service to the idea of talks, it was not doing enough to make them happen.

“It's hypocrisy. It's an attempt to close their eyes to the reality which exists and these are empty words,” Kabulov told RIA when talking about the Afghan's government's stance on negotiations with the Taliban.

“We need deeds.”

Also read: New, civilised Afghan Taliban may prefer talks to guns: Sheikh Rashid

The only way out of the current crisis which has seen the Taliban make military gains on the back of an exit by US and Nato forces was for all sides to sit down together at the negotiating table in Kabul, Kabulov was cited as saying.

He said that Russia and other regional powers favoured a transitional government in Afghanistan.

A Taliban delegation in Moscow last week said that the group controlled more than 85 per cent of territory in Afghanistan — an assertion dismissed by the government — and told Russia it would not let the country be used as a platform to attack others.

China welcomes US withdrawal

Meanwhile, China said the withdrawal of US and Nato forces from Afghanistan offered the country a new chance to take its destiny into its own hands, while calling for the Taliban to cut all ties with terrorist groups.

Speaking on Tuesday in Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the US should reflect on its role in Afghanistan after its 20-year military involvement failed to bring peace.

“With the United States and Nato leaving Afghanistan, the Afghan people have a new opportunity to take the destiny of their country and their people into their own hands,” Wang said in a news release posted on the ministry’s website on Wednesday.

In remarks directed at the Taliban, Wang said the deeply conservative group should “resolutely draw a line with all terrorist forces, and return to the political mainstream of Afghanistan with a responsible attitude toward the country and people”.

China shares a narrow border with Afghanistan and is concerned about Islamist extremism spilling over into its traditionally Muslim region of Xinjiang. As part of those prevention efforts, Beijing has been sharing up ties with its central Asian neighbours such as Tajikistan.

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