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Putin says 'Taliban could possibly be removed from terrorists' list'; calls for inclusive govt

Russia hosted talks on Afghanistan on Wednesday involving senior representatives of the Taliban and neighboring nations, a round of diplomacy that underlined Moscow’s clout in Central Asia. 

India TV News Desk India TV News Desk
New Delhi Published on: October 25, 2021 7:26 IST
Taliban Russia
Image Source : AP

Russian presidential envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov, left, shake hands with a member of the political delegation from the Afghan Taliban's movement Mawlawi Shahabuddin Dilawar, right

The removal of the Taliban movement from the list of terrorist organisations is possible, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said. Speaking at a meeting of the International Valdai Club in Moscow, Putin last week emphasised that this must happen at the level of the United Nations. The Russian president noted there must be no rush in officially recognizing the Taliban as the new rulers of Afghanistan, but stressed the need to engage in talks with them.

At the same time, Putin and other Russian officials also underlined the threats posed by the Islamic State group and other militants based in northern Afghanistan and noted that drug trafficking from Afghanistan will continue to present a challenge.

"All of us expect that these people, the Taliban, who are undoubtedly in control of the situation in Afghanistan will ensure that the situation develops in a positive fashion," Putin said.

The Taliban, meanwhile, have welcomed Putin's remarks. 

"Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan welcomes remarks by President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, regarding removal of names of IEA leaders from the blacklist," Abdul Qahar Balkhi, the spokesperson of the Afghan Foreign Ministry in the interim government of the country said on Sunday.

"As the chapter of war has come to an end, so too must world countries bring a positive change in their relationship and approach towards Afghanistan. We seek positive relations with the international community based on the principle of reciprocity," the Taliban spokesman tweeted.

Russia hosts Afghan talks

On Wednesday, Russia hosted talks on Afghanistan involving senior representatives of the Taliban and neighboring nations, a round of diplomacy that underlined Moscow’s clout in Central Asia. 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov opened the talks and emphasized that “forming a really inclusive government fully reflecting the interests of not only all ethnic groups but all political forces of the country” is necessary to achieve a stable peace in Afghanistan, a nation of 39 million.

Russia had worked for years to establish contacts with the Taliban, even though it designated the group a terror organization in 2003 and never took it off the list. Any contact with such groups is punishable under Russian law, but the Foreign Ministry has responded to questions about the apparent contradiction by saying its exchanges with the Taliban are essential for helping stabilize Afghanistan.

Unlike many other countries, Russia hasn’t evacuated its embassy in Kabul and its ambassador has maintained regular contacts with the Taliban since they took over the Afghan capital of Kabul in August.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has in fact commended the Taliban for their efforts to stabilize the military-political situation in the country and ensure the operation of state structures.

Russia has vowed to provide military assistance to its ex-Soviet allies in Central Asia to help counter the threats and held joint drills in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, which neighbor Afghanistan. Another sweeping military exercise in Tajikistan involving 5,000 troops, more than 700 military vehicles and combat jets has started this week.

Taliban seized control of Kabul in August and they announced the interim government of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in September.

Taliban have been pushing for international recognition. However, the world community has made it clear that the Taliban have to deliver on the promises that they have made before any recognition. 

(With inputs from ANI and AP)

Also Read | 17 killed in clash between Taliban, armed men in Afghanistan's Herat

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