The Afghan Taliban has accepted a Russian invitation to travel to Moscow to hold peace talks on Afghanistan’s future that is likely to exclude the U.S. and include regional powers like China, India, Iran and Pakistan according to WSJ.
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Russia has played an active role in efforts to end the 17-year Afghan War, citing fears about the emergence of ISIS and Washingtons incompetence to negotiate a political solution. The Taliban’s decision to accept the invitation comes at a time when the terror group is extending its political consultations with the U.S.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second Asian Department Director Zamir Kabulov has confirmed that the representatives of the Afghan Taliban will attend the Moscow meeting for the Afghan reconciliation efforts scheduled on 4th September 2018.
Zamir Kabulov, Russia’s presidential representative to Afghanistan told with Interfax that the Taliban had been invited to the Sept. 4 talks. He stated that the meeting was “in line with efforts to begin the process of political reconciliation in Afghanistan.” The Afghan ambassador to Russia, Abdul Kayum Kuchay said Russian officials had met the representatives of the Taliban on various occasions.
“It’s good news that Russia is inviting the Taliban and wants them to talk with representatives of the government and find a solution to the crisis in Afghanistan,” he said. The Taliban’s top political envoy, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai is expected to attend the meeting but his office declined to comment.
Russia has hosted multilateral talks on Afghanistan in the past, but this is the first time the Taliban have accepted an invitation. Other regional powers including China, India, Pakistan and Iran are expected to attend the meeting in Moscow.
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Article Reference: The Wall Street Journal