Taliban get aid promise but not recognition on eve of Moscow talks

Published October 19, 2021
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks to reporters during a news conference during 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 25. — AP/File
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks to reporters during a news conference during 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 25. — AP/File

Russia, China and Pakistan are willing to provide aid to Afghanistan, the Russian foreign ministry said on Tuesday, but Moscow said it was not yet ready to recognise the Taliban government.

The promise of humanitarian aid and economic support came after talks between Russian, Chinese and Pakistani officials, who will be joined by representatives of Afghanistan's rulers at a meeting in Moscow on Wednesday.

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia was withholding recognition from the Taliban while waiting for them to fulfil promises they made when they took power, including on the political and ethnic inclusivity of the new government.

Critics say the former rebel movement is backtracking on pledges not to sideline women and minorities, or persecute foes.

“Official recognition of the Taliban is not under discussion for now,” Lavrov told reporters. “Like most of other influential countries in the region, we are in contact with them. We are prodding them to fulfil the promises they made when they came to power.”

Russia seeks leadership

In mid-August, the Afghan government collapsed as the United States and allies withdrew troops after 20 years on the ground, leading the Taliban to seize power in a lightning offensive.

Russia, which fought its own disastrous war in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989, is trying to seize the diplomatic initiative to avoid instability in the wider region that could damage its interests.

In particular, it is worried by the possibility of militants seeping into the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, a region Moscow views as a defensive buffer.

Other Russian officials have tempered expectations for Wednesday's talks. The US said it would not join this round but planned to do so in the future.

Zamir Kabulov, President Vladimir Putin's special representative on Afghanistan, said last week he did not expect any major breakthrough at the talks.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov described them as “an attempt to know what will happen in Afghanistan going forward”.

Opinion

Editorial

Disquiet on the western front
Updated 07 Dec, 2022

Disquiet on the western front

IT is very difficult for Pakistan to be delinked from Afghanistan, because of reasons of geography and history.
Fuel from Russia
07 Dec, 2022

Fuel from Russia

THE apparent headway made with Russia for the purchase of its crude oil, petrol and diesel at discounted prices is a...
More women SHOs
07 Dec, 2022

More women SHOs

IT is encouraging to see more employment avenues opening up for women in Pakistan, with an increasing number of...
Is there a plan?
Updated 06 Dec, 2022

Is there a plan?

The ball currently is in Imran's court, but it appears he is stumped as to what to do with it.
Riverfront concerns
06 Dec, 2022

Riverfront concerns

THE door-to-door drive being launched by a group of landowners to mobilise affected communities against what they...
Morality police out
06 Dec, 2022

Morality police out

FOR several months, Iran has been rocked by unprecedented protests, sparked by the death on Sept 16 of Mahsa Amini, ...