Russian special envoy visits Afghanistan to meet Taliban officials

Kabul, Mar 24 (EFE).- The Russian special envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov arrived in Kabul on Thursday to meet with officials of the Taliban regime, expressing the Kremlin’s willingness to sign deals with the Islamists and offer development aid.

Kabulov met the Taliban’s foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, and “discussed political, economic, transit ties,” the deputy spokesperson of the Afghan foreign ministry, Hafiz Zia Ahmad tweeted.

Ahmad said that the Russian envoy “was satisfied with new government achievements, (their) balanced policy for the interest of the region.”

The Russian diplomat’s visit is significant as after seizing power in August, the Taliban have failed to gain recognition from the international community and reverse the economic sanctions that have contributed to a severe economic crisis.

The visit also coincides with the arrival of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who also met Taliban officials after a stop in Pakistan.

Although several countries have established practical ties with the Taliban to resolve security and humanitarian issues, none of them have officially recognized the regime as a legitimate government.

On Thursday, Muttaqi said that the Islamist government “pays serious attention to regional security and connectivity and wants Afghanistan, as the heart of Asia, to play an important role in transit, trade, industry, and economic development among the countries of the region,” according to Ahmad.

Afghanistan is at a strategic geographical location for Russia, as it shares borders with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, all allies of Moscow.

Kabulov also met Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the co-founder of the Taliban and deputy prime minister, in the presidential palace, and the two sides discussed strengthening economic and political ties and investment in Afghanistan.

Taliban spokesperson Inamullah Samangani tweeted that the Russian envoy assured Baradar that Russia was ready to sign bilateral agreements in several fields,

In the last two years, after the rapid deterioration of the Afghan conflict and the withdrawal of international troops, the Taliban have come closer to Russia, Pakistan and China, which have often offered special spaces for dialog for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

The Taliban have so far maintained a “neutral” stance on the Russia-Ukraine war, insisting on a dialog-based solution of the conflict, and avoiding condemning any side. EFE


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