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Limited contacts made with Taliban: Russian envoy

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: The Russian envoy to Pakistan has acknowledged contacts between his country and the Afghan Taliban, but, aimed at promoting reconciliation drive to the war-hit, Afghanistan.

“Yes, there have been limited contacts with the Afghan Taliban,” Russian Ambassador to Pakistan Alexey Y. Dedov told a seminar in Peshawar on Russia’s position on Afghanistan and Syria.

Speaking at the Area Study Center on Thursday, the envoy rejected reports that the President Valdimir Putin had met Taliban’s supreme leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor.

“Were there reports that President Putin had met Mullah Omar too?” he asked causing laughter.

He termed the presence of Islamic State (IS) in northern Afghanistan a concern for the Russia and lamented that the terrorist group was firstly active in eastern Nangarhar province.

“However, due to military operation, Daesh militants were relocated to northern Afghanistan,” he said.

“It was a matter of concern due to Afghanistan’s proximity with Central Asian Republics and Russia,” he said, adding that Russia considered Daesh a threat to its national security since around three thousands of its citizens had joined it, causing problems in the Russian region of Dagestan and other places.

“Afghanistan’s situation was complicated and Russia had issues the European Union and the US,” he said, adding that the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan was a “tragic mistake”.

The envoy furthered that the situation in Afghanistan was complicated as it was more of a playground for other forces where there was no effective operation to suppress terrorists.

Later, the Russian envoy told Dawn, a Pakistani Newspaper that he was not aware of the level of engagements with Afghan Taliban or whether his country had sought their help in countering the threat from the militant Islamic State group. “It’s a delicate matter. I really don’t know the level of these engagements, but they have been there,” he said.


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