Russia to invite Taliban to talks in Moscow from Oct 20

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Russia will invite the Taliban to international talks on Afghanistan scheduled for October 20 in Moscow, the Kremlin’s envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, said on Thursday.

In response to a question from Russian journalists on whether representatives of the group would be invited to negotiations involving China, India, Iran and Pakistan, Kabulov said: “Yes”.

The talks will follow a G20 summit on Afghanistan on October 12 that will seek to help the country avoid a humanitarian catastrophe in the wake of the Taliban takeover.

Kabulov was also asked whether Russia would deliver aid to Afghanistan, where the humanitarian crisis is growing worse, a top UN official warned on Wednesday. Russia would do so, but the details were still being

decided, Kabulov said. “This is being worked out,” he told journalists, saying “cargo” was being collected.

Moscow has moved to engage with the Taliban but stopped short of recognition of the group, which is banned as a terrorist organisation in Russia.

On Monday, Kabulov said Moscow would not “exclude” revising the UN sanctions regime against the Taliban. “

But at this stage we believe it is not expedient to rush,” he said. The Kremlin has in recent years reached out to the Taliban and hosted its representatives in Moscow several times, most recently in July. – Agencies

Unlike Western countries that rushed to evacuate diplomats after the Taliban swept to power in August, Russia has kept its embassy in Kabul open.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticised the foreign involvement in domestic Afghan affairs and said Moscow had “learnt lessons” from the Soviet Union’s invasion of the country.– Agencies

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