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Russia hosts Taliban for Afghanistan talks

AT News

KABUL: An international conference on Afghanistan hosted by Russia on Wednesday involving senior representatives of the Taliban and neighbouring nations urged the Taliban to form an inclusive government and called for the United Nations to convene a donor conference to prevent from a humanitarian catastrophe facing the war-torn country.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov opened the talks and emphasised that “forming a really inclusive government fully reflecting the interests of not only all ethnic groups but all political forces of the country” is necessary to achieve a stable peace in Afghanistan, a nation of 39 million.

Lavrov commended the Taliban for their efforts to stabilise the military-political situation in the country and ensure the operation of state structures.

“We are satisfied with the level of practical interaction with Afghan authorities, which allows to effectively ensure the security of Russian citizens in Afghanistan and the unimpeded operation of our embassy in Kabul,” Lavrov said in his opening speech.

At the same time, he emphasised the importance of respecting human rights and pursuing balanced social policies, adding that he discussed those issues with the Taliban delegation before the talks.

Lavrov said Russia would soon dispatch a shipment of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

In the meantime, Zamir Kabulov, the Kremlin envoy on Afghanistan who also attended the talks, said the international recognition of the Taliban will hinge on the inclusiveness of their government and their human rights record.

Abdul Salam Hanafi, a deputy prime minister in the Taliban’s interim government who attended Wednesday’s talks, said “the meeting is very important for stability of the entire region.”

At the same time, Putin and other Russian officials stressed the threats posed by the self-proclaimed Islamic State group and other militants based in northern Afghanistan, and noted that drug trafficking from Afghanistan will continue to present a challenge.

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