Russia Holds High-Level Talks with Taliban

Russia hosted high-level talks on Oct. 20 with representatives of Taliban, calling for a more inclusive government and aid from the international community.

During the third meeting of the Moscow Format Consultations on Afghanistan, Russia urged the Taliban to take further steps to form an inclusive government that “adequately reflects the interests of all major ethno-political forces in the country.”

“Sustainable peace in Afghanistan remains a pressing goal. We believe that forming an inclusive government, which fully reflects the interests of all ethnic and political forces in the country, is the key to achieving it,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in remarks at the meeting, which was also attended by representatives from China, Iran, Pakistan, and Central Asian countries.

According to a joint statement, participants of the meeting “reaffirmed their willingness to continue to promote security in Afghanistan” due to concerns that terrorist groups, such as the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda, would take advantage of Afghanistan’s current state.

Russia also urged the international community to send aid to Afghanistan to prevent a refugee crisis.

“We are convinced that the United Nations should pay a central coordinating role in pooling international efforts on the Afghan track,” Lavrov said.

According to news agency TASS, Taliban representative Zakir Jalali said that all participants of the meeting supported the unfreezing of Afghan assets “that belong to the people of Afghanistan and must not be tied to political affairs.”

Russia added that they will send another batch of humanitarian aid to the Afghan people in the next few days.

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