Conflicts & War

Eying recognition, Taliban pin hopes on Moscow meeting outcome

Moscow/Kabul, Oct 19 (EFE).- The Taliban said Tuesday that they were optimistic about the outcome of a multilateral meeting in Moscow where envoys of 10 countries will huddle together on the changing situation in Afghanistan.

Russia has already invited the Taliban for the international talks scheduled for Wednesday in Moscow.

Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Abdul Salam Hanafi will lead the Taliban delegation to the Russian capital.

“Discussions will take place on various issues. The Islamic Emirate (as the Taliban calls its government) will express its stance to encourage and satisfy the international community regarding the issues of mutual interests,” Jawad Sargar, a member of the cultural commission, told EFE.

“We hope that the outcome of the meeting will be positive, as problems can only be resolved through dialogue,” Sargar said.

The meeting is the third edition of the so-called “Moscow format” of consultations on Afghanistan and the first since the Taliban seized power in Kabul on Aug.15.

Moscow has also invited representatives from China, Pakistan, Iran, and India for the talks.

The United States has declined to attend after its special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, resigned following criticism over the hasty US military withdrawal from Kabul.

Washington cited “logistical difficulties” for its inability to attend the talks.

The Taliban hope to get the international community to recognize their interim administration amid global demands for an inclusive government with women leaders and representation from all ethnic minorities.

The overwhelming-Taliban government does not have woman leaders and has only a few representatives from non-Pashtun ethnic groups in tier 2 lower positions.

The Taliban spokesperson noted that the Afghan delegation would also have separate meetings with envoys of the counties attending the talks to discuss the “recognition of the Islamic Emirate.”

A Taliban official requesting anonymity told EFE that the intention was to “start a new chapter” in international relations.

“It is a good opportunity to interact with the international community. We want diplomatic and economic relations with other countries,” he said.

The Russian foreign ministry has said the meeting would also address issues related to “consolidating the efforts of the international community to avoid a humanitarian crisis” in Afghanistan.

Last week the G-20 countries held a virtual meeting on Afghanistan in which they agreed on aid supplies to fight the growing humanitarian crisis in the country.

The crisis has affected at least 18 million people or half of the Afghan population, the United Nations says.

One million children suffer from acute malnutrition and are at risk of death, according to Unicef.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will address the meeting that will culminate with a joint statement.

Officials held closed-door consultations on the meeting eve to reach a consensus and work out a common position on the changing situation in Afghanistan.

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