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Moscow tightens screws on Kabul, accuses it ‘hypocrisy’ in Taliban talks

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KABUL: Russia’s senior envoy for Afghanistan on Wednesday accused the Afghan government of hypocrisy as it has resumed long-stalled talked with the Taliban, calling on Kabul to start proper negotiations before it was too late.

Zamir Kabulov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special representative on Afghanistan, said that Afghan government only pretended to pursue peace talks with the Taliban and was not even doing the bare minimum to make them happen.

The Kremlin’s envoy talked about the Afghan government’s clumsy stance on negotiations with the Taliban as foreign ministers from the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation are meeting in Tajikistan to discuss the Afghan crisis.

“It is hypocrisy. It is an attempt to close their eyes to the reality which exists and these are empty words,” said Kabulov in an interview with Russia’s RIA news agency.

Kabulov reiterated calls by Russia and its allies regarding formation of a transitional government in Afghanistan. “The only way out of the current crisis which has seen the Taliban make military gains on the back of an exit by U.S. and NATO forces was for all sides to sit down together at the negotiating table in Kabul, Kabulov was cited as saying,” he said.

The warning comes a week after a Taliban delegation in Moscow said that they controlled more than 85% of territory in Afghanistan which was immediately dismissed by the government. The Taliban also reassured Russian officials that they would not let the country be used as a platform to attack Russia and its Central Asian allies.

It happened against the backdrop of the militants’ rapid territorial gains. The Taliban have captured key border crossings and ports in Afghanistan’s north bordering Tajikistan, a development that has stoked fears in Moscow about the looming threat of extremist Taliban.

This is as fears of fallouts of Taliban advances amid US exit, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan have deployed thousands of troops and heavy arsenal of weapons near the border with Afghanistan to fortify their sagging defences.

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