US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan won’t create power vacuum — Russian envoy

KABUL (TCA) — Zamir Kabulov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Afghanistan envoy, told reporters in Moscow on February 12 that a US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan will not create a power vacuum in Afghanistan and the Taliban can be a potential ally in the fight against Daesh in the country, Afghan broadcaster TOLOnews reported.

Kabulov said if the US fails to strike an agreement on a military pullout with Taliban, “they could stay for another few years but in the end, they’ll have to go, and this time in disgrace,” Bloomberg reported.

Last week, Russia hosted talks between the Taliban and a large team of Afghan politicians. The Taliban said it’s seeking the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan within months.

Kabulov described the meeting as the “start of national reconciliation”, where the Soviet Union fought a decade-long war before completing a humiliating withdrawal in 1989.

Kabulov said: “There won’t be a vacuum in Afghanistan.”

“When all Afghans, the authorities in Kabul and the Taliban, reach a peace agreement and won’t fight each other, then they’ll deal with ISIS (Daesh) in an Afghan manner,” Kabulov said.

In the meantime, Russia’s TASS news agency reported that Kabulov will hold a meeting with US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad in Ankara on February 22.

They will discuss preparations for the next round of the Moscow consultations on Afghanistan, according to Kabulov.

The Russian envoy added that he will also hold consultations on the Afghan issue with Turkish diplomats.

Russia would like representatives of the Taliban movement to take part in the presidential election in Afghanistan, he said.

Moscow also believes that time is ripe for lifting the UN Security Council’s sanctions on the Taliban, Kabulov said.

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Times of Central Asia