Russia is set to host the Taliban and other Afghan factions for talks later this month, a senior Russian diplomat says, in a move that reflects Moscow’s efforts to expand its clout.
Zamir Kabulov, the Kremlin envoy on Afghanistan, says that there will be a meeting of the so-called “Moscow format” talks involving the Taliban and various other Afghan parties in Moscow on October 20. He doesn’t say who will represent the Taliban.
In remarks carried by Russian news agencies, Kabulov also says that diplomats from Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan will hold talks on Afghanistan this month. Russia has worked for years to establish contacts with the Taliban, even though it still officially considers it a terrorist organization.
Unlike many other countries, Russia hasn’t evacuated its embassy in Kabul and its ambassador quickly met with the Taliban after they took over the capital.