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Russia invites Taliban for talks in Moscow

“If we compare how easy it is to negotiate as colleagues and partners, then the Taliban have seemed to me for a long time much more prepared for negotiations than the puppet government was,”

IANS | New Delhi |

Russia has invited representatives of the Taliban to meet in Moscow as part of the efforts to open diplomatic channels with Afghanistans de facto new government, Russian President Vladimir Putins special envoy for the country has confirmed, Russia Today reported.

Speaking to journalists on Thursday, Zamir Kabulov, who also serves as the director of the second Asian Department at the Russian Foreign Ministry, said that an invite has been extended to Taliban officials.

However, the precise details of the meeting and who might attend it have not been disclosed yet.

Despite the Taliban being designated as a terrorist organisation that is banned in Russia, representatives of its political branch were granted permission to attend talks in Moscow earlier this year in an effort to forge a peace deal. Since then, the Islamist militant group has taken control of almost all of Afghanistan following the withdrawal of US troops and their allies.

Kabulov had previously hinted that Russia could grant recognition to the new Taliban regime, while explaining that “we are in no hurry” and that such a move would depend on “how the new regime behaves”.

“If we compare how easy it is to negotiate as colleagues and partners, then the Taliban have seemed to me for a long time much more prepared for negotiations than the puppet government was,” he had said in August, the report said.

According to the top diplomat, the former US-backed leadership was “doubtfully elected, ruled badly and ended shamefully”.

However, as well as opening diplomatic channels with the group, Moscow has also moved to shore up security in the region following the departure of American troops. Russian soldiers have staged a series of drills with forces from neighboring Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, insisting that the shared border will be protected, the report added.