Afghanistan: Kabul lodges complaint with UN over Taliban trip to Moscow

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KABUL (TCA) — Afghanistan’s government has lodged a complaint with the UN over a recent trip by members of the Taliban to Moscow, Afghan broadcaster TOLOnews reported.

The Afghan government has said that Russia allowed the members of the Taliban to enter the country despite them being on the UN’s blacklist.

Led by Taliban’s chief negotiator Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, ten senior officials from the group this week travelled to Moscow for talks with Afghan politicians.

Nazifullah Salarzai, deputy of Afghanistan permanent representative to the UN has confirmed this latest development.

This comes after Afghan presidential spokesman Haroon Chakhansuri on February 7 said the Moscow meeting was a political and academic meeting and will have no impact on the peace process.

“It was a political and academic debate about peace. The declaration which was released at the end of this meeting was the summary of this meeting and will not have any practical or executive outcomes on the peace process,” said Chakhansuri.

In the meantime, Taliban representatives and an Afghan delegation led by former President Hamid Karzai have said that after two days of negotiations in Russia they aim to continue their “intra-Afghan” dialogue in Qatar “as soon as possible,” RFE/RL reported.

Karzai led a delegation of about 40 Afghan politicians — although without representatives of the current government in Kabul — at the two-day round of talks in Moscow on February 5-6.

The two sides said in a joint statement that they agreed to meet again in Doha, the capital of Qatar, where the Taliban has a semiofficial office.

The Moscow meeting came as broader peace talks involving the U.S. and Taliban representatives in Doha appear to be gaining momentum.

U.S. and Taliban negotiators are scheduled to meet again on February 25 in Doha, weeks after Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, said a framework peace agreement had been reached with the militants.

Despite the absence of any Afghan government representatives, the Moscow meeting has been described as part of an “intra-Afghan” peace process.

However, the gathering has been criticized by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. “Those taking part in the talks are independent individuals,” Ghani said, according to Tolonews.

Karzai said the main issue under discussion in Moscow was that Afghanistan should be free of foreign forces, adding that there was a near-consensus on this matter.

Sergey Kwan

TCA