Russia to host Afghanistan peace talks with Taliban participation — report

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KABUL (TCA) — Senior Taliban leaders and Afghan politicians are expected to travel to Moscow next week for talks on Afghanistan peace. A US official called the move an attempt to “muddle” the US-backed peace process, Afghan broadcaster TOLOnews reported with reference to Reuters.

According to Reuters’ report, the Afghan government has not been invited so as to ensure the participation of the Taliban.

One Russian official told Reuters on condition of anonymity that “at this sensitive stage, it was best to not have Afghan government officials at the table.”

The Taliban has until now refused to meet with the Afghan government to discuss peace, branding the Kabul administration puppets of the United States.

Reuters reported that the Moscow talks is Russia’s way to promote its role of power broker in what a US official called an attempt to “muddle” the US-backed peace process.

These talks follow on the heels of the US-Taliban talks in Doha, Qatar last week.

Early this week, the US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad briefed the Afghan media on last week’s discussions and said the key for finding the solution for Afghan problems is now in the hands of Afghans.

He also said a framework had been drawn up in terms of moving forward.

Reuters reported that several critics of Afghan President Ghani, including Mohammad Ismail Khan, a prominent member of Jamiat party, and Atta Mohammad Noor, former Balkh governor, will attend the Moscow meeting.

The latest move comes after the Moscow meeting on Afghanistan’s peace in November last year where representatives of the Taliban and envoys from 11 countries participated.

A delegation from Afghanistan’s High Peace Council (HPC) also attended the meeting, but once again the Afghan government was not represented.

Sergey Kwan

TCA