Russia to invite Taliban to international talks in Moscow scheduled for Oct 20

Published October 7, 2021
This photo shows Russia's envoy to Afghanistan  Zamir Kabulov. — Photo courtesy: Russian Foreign Ministry/TASS
This photo shows Russia's envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov. — Photo courtesy: Russian Foreign Ministry/TASS

Russia will invite the Taliban to international talks on Afghanistan scheduled for October 20 in Moscow, the Kremlin's envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, said on Thursday.

In response to a question from Russian journalists on whether representatives of the group would be invited to negotiations involving China, India, Iran and Pakistan, Kabulov said: “Yes”.

The talks will follow a G20 summit on Afghanistan on October 12 that will seek to help the country avoid a humanitarian catastrophe in the wake of the Taliban takeover.

Kabulov was also asked whether Russia would deliver aid to Afghanistan, where the humanitarian crisis is growing worse, a top UN official warned on Wednesday.

Russia would do so, but the details were still being decided, Kabulov said. “This is being worked out,” he told journalists, saying “cargo” was being collected.

Moscow has moved to engage with the Taliban but stopped short of recognition of the group, which is banned as a terrorist organisation in Russia.

On Monday, Kabulov said Moscow would not “exclude” revising the UN sanctions regime against the Taliban. “But at this stage we believe it is not expedient to rush,” he said.

The Kremlin has in recent years reached out to the Taliban and hosted its representatives in Moscow several times, most recently in July.

Unlike Western countries that rushed to evacuate diplomats after the Taliban swept to power in August, Russia has kept its embassy in Kabul open.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticised the foreign involvement in domestic Afghan affairs and said Moscow had “learnt lessons” from the Soviet Union's invasion of the country.

In the 1980s, Moscow fought a disastrous decade-long war in Afghanistan that killed up to two million Afghans, forced seven million more from their homes and led to the deaths of more than 14,000 Soviet troops.

Putin has also warned about members of extremist groups exploiting political turmoil in Afghanistan to cross into neighbouring countries as refugees.

In the wake of the Taliban takeover, Russia held military drills with ex-Soviet Tajikistan — where it operates a military base — and in Uzbekistan.

Both countries share a border with Afghanistan.

Moscow also said it received orders for new arms and weapons from the Central Asian nations.

While the Taliban has said it does not pose a threat to Central Asian countries, the ex-Soviet republics in the region have previously been targeted by attacks attributed to allies of Afghan militants.

The Taliban were initially in power in Afghanistan from 1996 until they were toppled by the 2001 US-led invasion following the September 11, 2001 attacks that were plotted by Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden from Afghan soil.

Opinion

Editorial

The establishment pivot
18 Jan, 2022

The establishment pivot

It is a sad reality that the power matrix continues to revolve around the establishment.
18 Jan, 2022

Remittances growth

THE hefty growth in remittances from Pakistanis living abroad continues to defy forecasts to the contrary. New State...
18 Jan, 2022

China-Iran deal

THE China-Iran strategic deal that has recently taken effect is more than just a long-term bilateral agreement...
Security policy unveiled
Updated 17 Jan, 2022

Security policy unveiled

PAKISTAN’S freshly unveiled National Security Policy has broadened the traditional concept and included economic...
Bold decisions
Updated 17 Jan, 2022

Bold decisions

IT is a double blow within a matter of days. The Islamabad High Court’s order last week to demolish a navy golf...
17 Jan, 2022

Rohingya camp blaze

A HUGE blaze in a refugee camp housing members of the Rohingya community in Bangladesh last week has left up to ...