MOSCOW: Moscow has invited the Taliban to its biggest annual economic forum and is considering a proposal to remove the group from its terror list, a Russian diplomat was quo­ted as saying on Monday.

Since the Taliban seized power in Aug 2021 as US-led forces withdrew after 20 years, Moscow has been slowly building ties with the Taliban, though the movement is still officially outlawed in Russia.

The foreign and justice ministries have reported to President Vladimir Putin on the issue of removing the ban, Zamir Kabulov, an official at the Russian foreign ministry, told state news agency TASS.

Some questions remain, Kabu­lov was quoted as saying, though he said that an invitation to attend the June 5-8 St Petersburg international economic forum had been extended to the Taliban.

Russia formally label­led the Taliban a terrorist organisation in 2003, tho­ugh it had periodic informal contacts with the movement.

Afghan leaders, Kabu­lov said, were traditionally interested in the purchase of oil products.

The St Petersburg forum, which once hosted CEOs and investment bankers from London and New York, has changed significantly amid the Ukraine war, which has triggered the biggest crisis in Russia’s relations with the West since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.

Western investors seeking a slice of Russia’s vast resources have now been replaced by businesses from China, India, Africa and the Middle East.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Kindness needed
Updated 20 Jun, 2024

Kindness needed

This year’s World Refugee Day theme — solidarity with refugees — includes keeping our borders accessible and addressing the hurdles they face.
Fitch’s budget note
20 Jun, 2024

Fitch’s budget note

PAKISTAN’S ongoing economic crisis is multifaceted. At one end, the government must pursue stabilisation policies...
Cruelty to animals
20 Jun, 2024

Cruelty to animals

TWO recent incidents illustrate the immense cruelty many in this country subject voiceless animals to. In the first...
Price bombs
Updated 18 Jun, 2024

Price bombs

It just wants to take the easy route and enjoy the ride for however long it is in power.
Palestine’s plight
Updated 17 Jun, 2024

Palestine’s plight

While the faithful across the world are celebrating with their families, thousands of Palestinian children have either been orphaned, or themselves been killed by the Israeli aggressors.
Profiting off denied visas
Updated 19 Jun, 2024

Profiting off denied visas

The staggering rejection rates underscore systemic biases in the largely non-transparent visa approval process.