Russia to invite Taliban to participate in Afghanistan talks on 20 October

Russia will invite the Taliban to take part in international talks on Afghanistan that the former is scheduled to hold on 20 October, confirmed Russian Vladimir Putin's special representative on Afghanistan

Oct 08, 2021
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Russia to invite Taliban to participate in Afghanistan talks on 20 October

Russia will invite the Taliban to take part in international talks on Afghanistan that the former is scheduled to hold on 20 October, confirmed Russian Vladimir Putin's special representative on Afghanistan. This comes as the concerns have grown within Russia about the spread of instability in Central Asian countries after the Taliban return in Afghanistan.  

Zamir Kabulov, Putin’s special representative to Afghanistan, confirmed they will invite the representative of the Taliban but hasn't provided any details on the talks, according to reports in Russian news agencies.

Earlier this year, Russia had hosted an international conference on Afghanistan in March, which saw the participation from the United States, China, and Pakistan. The joint statement released after the conference called for a peace deal between the warring parties. 

In 2018 as well, Moscow had organized a conference where the Taliban and an unofficial delegation--headed by former Afghan President Hamid Karzai--of the erstwhile Afghan government took part.  

Moscow’s biggest concern remains the possibility of Islamist militants infiltrating the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, which Moscow views as its southern defensive buffer. Recently, the tension between the Taliban and Tajikistan has been growing since the former seized power in Afghanistan on 15 August.  

Russia has also stepped up its military assistance to Tajikistan and conducted joint exercises to enhance the latter’s military preparedness to contain any spillover effects. 

Antonio Giustozzi, who is an expert on Afghanistan and is affiliated with UK-based think-tank Royal United Services Institute, wrote in a commentary [read more] that both Iran and Russia helped the Taliban by providing significant assistance in its last offensive, hoping that the Taliban would accommodate their concerns and their Afghan clients in the future government. 

However, the duo became increasingly concerned when Kabul fell into the hands of Haqqanis and the group showed no intention to form an inclusive government. There still remain the risks of further civil war in the country, with grave consequences for neighboring countries. 

(SAM)