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

Ties with Tehran
Updated 24 Apr, 2024

Ties with Tehran

Tomorrow, if ties between Washington and Beijing nosedive, and the US asks Pakistan to reconsider CPEC, will we comply?
Working together
24 Apr, 2024

Working together

PAKISTAN’S democracy seems adrift, and no one understands this better than our politicians. The system has gone...
Farmers’ anxiety
24 Apr, 2024

Farmers’ anxiety

WHEAT prices in Punjab have plummeted far below the minimum support price owing to a bumper harvest, reckless...
By-election trends
Updated 23 Apr, 2024

By-election trends

Unless the culture of violence and rigging is rooted out, the credibility of the electoral process in Pakistan will continue to remain under a cloud.
Privatising PIA
23 Apr, 2024

Privatising PIA

FINANCE Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb’s reaffirmation that the process of disinvestment of the loss-making national...
Suffering in captivity
23 Apr, 2024

Suffering in captivity

YET another animal — a lioness — is critically ill at the Karachi Zoo. The feline, emaciated and barely able to...