Russia to invite Taliban for Moscow talks, seeks cordial ties with Afghanistan

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The Moscow format was determined in the year 2017 based on a system of six parties. The purpose was to consult through special envoys between Russia, Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Iran and India.

Moscow: Russia is going to increase its proximity to the Taliban, a radical Islamic group that has seized power in Afghanistan. Russia said on Thursday that it will invite Taliban representatives to a Moscow draft meeting on Afghanistan on October 20. 

Russian news agency TASS has published a report quoting Jamir Kabulov, the Russia President’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Director of the Second Asian Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

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According to the TASS report, “Russia will invite representatives of the Taliban to a proposed draft meeting on Afghanistan.”

However, Kabulov did not specify the level of Taliban representatives. The Moscow format was determined in the year 2017 based on a system of six parties. The purpose was to consult through special envoys between Russia, Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Iran and India.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had called on the Taliban to form an inclusive government as soon as possible. He also said that Russia is working with the United States (US), China and Pakistan to prevent terrorism in Afghanistan and to form an inclusive government. 

Russia’s foreign minister has said the Taliban must respect the rights of women and girls. The Taliban have fulfilled what they have said in public.

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Russia’s tough stance follows the Taliban’s statement that it has no right to ask Pakistan and the rest of the world to ask the Islamic Emirate to form an “inclusive” government in Afghanistan. After the formation of the interim government in Afghanistan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan had also said that an inclusive government should be formed in Afghanistan. The US is also repeatedly urging the Taliban to do the same.

Russia has said no decision has yet been made on recognizing the Taliban as a government in Afghanistan. Russia says it will closely monitor developments there before making a decision. Russia wants to see peace and stability in Afghanistan. 

However, many countries closed their embassies in Kabul after the Taliban took over. But Russia, China, Pakistan did not close their embassies

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Russia has been worried about Taliban

Since the Taliban’s occupation of Afghanistan, Russia has feared that Islamic militant groups could infiltrate the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, which Moscow sees as its defensive buffer. Moscow had conducted military exercises in Tajikistan after the Taliban took over. 

Putin also spoke by phone with Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon. The two leaders discussed the latest developments in Afghanistan and security arrangements.

first published:Oct. 7, 2021, 9:47 p.m.

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