Russia confirms Taliban’s participation in Moscow meeting on Afghanistan

afghan-map1-4ff

KABUL (TCA) — Representatives of the Taliban will attend the Moscow format of Afghan reconciliation talks scheduled for September 4, Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second Asian Department Director Zamir Kabulov said on August 20, Russia’s Sputnik news agency reported.

Kabulov told Sputnik that Russia expected the Taliban to participate in the upcoming conference. Later in the day, the Wall Street Journal reported citing sources that Taliban representatives had agreed to participate in this meeting. Afghan Ambassador to Russia Abdul Qayyum Kochai told Sputnik that Kabul did not mind the participation of the Taliban in the meeting.

“Yes, they will come on September 4. Preparation for the meeting is now underway,” Kabulov told the Izvestiya newspaper.

Russian Foreign Ministry noted that Moscow maintains contacts with the Taliban only to ensure the safety of Russian citizens in Afghanistan and to encourage this group to join the process of national reconciliation. In March 2018, Kabulov said that contacts between Moscow and the Taliban had been established several years ago, when Russia was seriously concerned about the possibility of terrorist threats to Russian overseas institutions and citizens. The diplomat stressed the importance to clarify the plans of the Taliban leadership towards the Russians, and Moscow received assurances that the Taliban had no hostile intentions towards Russian citizens and institutions.

Sergey Kwan

TCA