Russian diplomat confirms limited contacts with Taliban
PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): Russia has confirmed limited contacts with the Afghan Taliban, saying the objective is promoting reconciliation in the war-devastated country.
Speaking at the Area Study Centre here on Thursday, the diplomat laughed off reports that President Vladimir Putin had met Taliban’s supreme leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour.
“Were there also reports that President Putin had met Mullah (Mohammad) Omar?” the ambassador asked in a lighter vein, prompting a fit of laughter from the audience, including university teachers and students.
Calling the presence of the Islamic State (IS) in northern Afghanistan a concern for Russia, he said the terrorist group was initially active in eastern Nangarhar province.
However, Daesh militants had relocated to northern Afghanistan due to military operations in the east, the diplomat noted. It was a matter of concern due to Afghanistan’s proximity with Central Asian Republics and Russia, he said.
Dedov said the situation in Afghanistan was complicated and Russia had issues with the European Union and the US. The Soviet intervention in Afghanistan was a “tragic mistake”, he conceded.
While denying that Russia was indifferent to Afghanistan, he cited providing assistance to the Afghan government, including the supply of small arms and training to Afghan police.
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