Russia has recognized a Taliban official to work with the new Afghan administration, but it remains concerned about extremist organizations crossing into Russia via Central Asia, according to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Last year, Russia organized an international conference on Afghanistan with the hopes of reaching a peace agreement and reducing violence between the Taliban and the Afghan government at the time. The Taliban has been labeled a “terrorist organization” by Russia, yet its members have been accepted for discussions on multiple occasions.
The US and its allies withdrew their soldiers from Afghanistan after 20 years, and the Taliban seized control in August when the US-backed government disintegrated, thanks to Russia’s mediation efforts.
Growing commercial and economic relations between Afghanistan and nations in the area, Lavrov said at an Afghanistan-focused conference in China, were contributing to the possible worldwide recognition of their administration.
He said that a Taliban representative was already in Moscow.
“I’d like to point out that the first Afghan diplomat who arrived in Moscow last month and was dispatched by the new leadership has been accredited by the Russian Foreign Ministry,” he added.
Russia is concerned about the potential for regional repercussions, as well as the likelihood of terrorists penetrating Central Asia’s former Soviet republics, which it regards as a southern defense buffer.
“The violent Islamic State group’s attempts to destabilize Central Asian governments and transfer instability to Russia are particularly concerning,” Lavrov warned.
“The presence of Jamaat Ansarullah and the Islamic Movement Uzbekistan detachments along the Afghan-Tajik and Afghan-Uzbek borders is concerning.”
Moscow has staged military manoeuvres in Tajikistan and boosted weapons at its military facility there since the Taliban took power last year.
To read our blog on “Taliban’s reversal on girls’ education is ‘deeply damaging’,” click here.