Russia Hails Taliban as ‘Reasonable People,’ Blasts Government
(Bloomberg) -- Russia on Friday accused elements in the U.S.-backed government in Kabul of blocking power-sharing negotiations and praised the Taliban as “reasonable people.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged rapid progress in talks on a political solution to the protracted civil war in Afghanistan as U.S. and other foreign forces leave the country after 20 years.
The Taliban, who’ve been making increased territorial gains and now control most of the 1,357-kilometer (815 mile) border with Russian ally Tajikistan, “are reasonable people,” Lavrov said in an online foreign policy forum hosted by the ruling United Russia party. “It’s wrong to try to maintain the current uncertainty as long as possible and there are forces in Kabul which want this to happen because it allows them to stay in power.”
Russia’s been courting the Taliban, which is building up strategic momentum over U.S.-backed President Ashraf Ghani as President Joe Biden presses ahead with the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops negotiated by his predecessor Donald Trump.
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told the Associated Press that the movement won’t lay down its weapons until a negotiated solution on a new government in Kabul and the departure of Ghani in an interview published on Friday.
President Vladimir Putin’s envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, on Tuesday said the Taliban is a “positive” factor in regional security by helping to secure the border with Central Asian states amid a militant threat. Russia has officially included the Taliban on its list of banned extremist and terrorist organizations.
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