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Russia to cooperate US drawdown from Afghanistan: Kabulov

AT-KABUL: Russia would cooperate with the US-Taliban negotiations over the US military pullout of Afghanistan, Russia’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov said, a statement came one day after the Moscow meeting, where for the first time Taliban negotiators sat around a table with politicians who were there from Kabul, most of them longtime rivals of the insurgents who fought with each other from 1994 to 2001.

Kabulov met Taliban negotiators led by Abbas Stanekzai just when their meeting with Afghan rival was over in Moscow, the Associated Press reported.

Kabulov told the Ria Novosti after meeting Taliban representatives that Moscow would be also willing to support lifting of sanctions imposed by the United Nations over the insurgents’ leaders.

An American official had earlier told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that Moscow was keen to have role in the Afghan peace talks.

Former President Hamid Karzai along with some influential politicians including Mohammad Muhaqiq and Hanif Atmar met Taliban negotiators on February 5 and 6 to find ways for peace, while Ghani’s government refused to attend the meeting, arguing it would help nothing for peace.

A statement issued after the meeting, emphasized on the complete foreign withdrawal from Afghanistan, the release of Taliban prisoners and removing the names of their leaders from the UN blacklist as the first steps of trust building.

Haroon Chkhansuri, President Ghani’s Spokesman called the meeting as a political and scientific discussion over peace. “The statement released at the end of the meeting was a summary of the negotiations and has no executive results over peace,” Chakhansuri tweeted.

Separately, the government has offered a complaint to the UN Security Council’s sanction committee over Taliban’s visit to Moscow. The reason of complaint is that Russia has issued visas to those Taliban officials whose names are in the UN blacklist.

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