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For Lavrov, Taliban’s Participation in the Moscow Forum a Great Success

Wednesday 22 August 2018

KABUL (AfTAG) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared that Russia is in contact with the Taliban to ensure the security of its citizens in Afghanistan and with the aim of encouraging the Taliban to enter into a peaceful dialogue with the government.

According to him, the Taliban had accepted its invitation to participate in the September talks, which could be one of the largest diplomatic successes of insurgents since the invasion of Afghanistan by a coalition led by the United States in 2001.

The announcement of the planned talks was made with the background of expansion of the Taliban’s influence zone in Afghanistan and unrelenting attacks of the Taliban, including the siege of the strategically important southern city of Ghazni this month.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow invited the Taliban to the talks on September 4, and expressed hope for a productive dialogue. “The first reaction is positive — they plan to take part in this meeting”, he said.

A senior Taliban official confirmed that his faction would send a delegation to Russia “for the sake of finding peace in Afghanistan.” According to him, the Taliban will also send its representatives to other countries in the region, including Pakistan and China, “to establish trust and resolve their concerns.”

Lavrov rejected the statements of the Afghan government that Russia hopes to use the Taliban to fight the Islamic state group. “I can not imagine how, even hypothetically, Russia can use the Taliban movement to combat IGIL”, Lavrov said.

In recent weeks, the Taliban has strengthened its diplomatic reputation by sending official delegations to Uzbekistan and Indonesia. The movement also stated that it had held talks with a high-ranking American diplomat in Qatar. However, the group refuses to conduct direct negotiations with the Afghan government, considering it a puppet of the United States, and claims that it will only negotiate the termination of the 17-year war directly with Washington.

Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed regret over the US refusal to participate in negotiations with the Taliban. The commentary also indicates that the Moscow meeting is scheduled to be held under the co-chairmanship of Russia and Afghanistan.

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