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World

Russia backs plans for Afghanistan interim government with the Taliban

  • On Friday, Russia announced that it backed the Taliban's integration into the future interim government in Afghanistan, as global powers escalated their efforts to secure a long-awaited peace deal.
  • The Russian Foreign Ministry's comments came as the United States prepares for the fast-approaching May deadline for troop withdrawal, ending its nearly two decades of military involvement in the war-torn country.
Updated 12 Mar, 2021

On Friday, Russia announced that it backed the Taliban's integration into the future interim government in Afghanistan, as global powers escalated their efforts to secure a long-awaited peace deal.

The Russian Foreign Ministry's comments came as the United States prepares for the fast-approaching May deadline for troop withdrawal, ending its nearly two decades of military involvement in the war-torn country.

More recently, Washington has encouraged the Afghan leadership to work towards establishing an "inclusive" government in the country, and proposed further negotiations with the Taliban to secure a peace accord.

According to Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, "The formation of an interim inclusive administration would be a logical solution to the problem of integrating the Taliban into the peaceful political life of Afghanistan".

Zakharova added that the decision should be made "by the Afghans themselves and should be resolved during negotiations on national reconciliation".

U.S President Joe Biden is reviewing whether to retain the agreement signed with the Taliban under the Trump Administration, signalling that it wants to take the regional ramifications of a troop withdrawal into account.

The Biden Administration has proposed that talks take place within weeks in Turkey to seal a comprehensive peace deal with the Taliban, to which Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu added that "Both the Taliban and the negotiation delegation, meaning the government side, had asked us to host such a meeting before".

Secretary of State Antony Blinken's letter to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani stated that Washington feared the "security situation will worsen and the Taliban could make rapid territorial gains" if the United States suddenly withdrew.

Moscow is due to host talks next week between members of the Afghan government and the Taliban, the Kremlin's latest effort to cement its role as a key broker in the conflict.

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