Moscow holds Taliban talks

15 September, 2019 12:00 AM printer

MOSCOW: A Taliban delegation held talks with Russian officials in Moscow after US negotiations with the Afghan insurgents collapsed, the Russian foreign ministry said Saturday, reports AFP.

“The Russian president’s special representative for Afghanistan ... , Zamir Kabulov, hosted a Taliban delegation in Moscow,” a ministry spokesman said, quoted by RIA Novosti state-funded news agency.

No date for the talks was given.

“The Russian side stressed the need to relaunch negotiations between the United States and the Taliban movement,” the spokesman said.

“For their part, the Taliban confirmed their willingness to pursue dialogue with Washington,” he added.

Until a week ago expectation had steadily mounted of a US-Taliban deal that would see the US drawdown of troop levels in Afghanistan and the Taliban offer security guarantees to keep extremist groups out.

But last Saturday, Trump revealed he had cancelled an unprecedented meeting between the Taliban and himself in the United States and declared the talks with the militants “dead”.

With more than 13,000 US troops still in Afghanistan, Trump has been eager to end America’s longest war, launched 18 years ago after the September 11 attacks.

But fears are now growing of increased violence with presidential elections set for September 28 in Afghanistan.