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World

Russia says Taliban must meet expectations on rights

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expresses regret US officials did not take part in the talks that included China and Pakistan
Updated 20 Oct 2021

MOSCOW: The Taliban must live up to international "expectations" on human rights if they want to be recognised by governments around the world, the Kremlin's representative on Afghanistan said Wednesday.

During Moscow talks on Afghanistan that included representatives of the Taliban, Kremlin envoy Zamir Kabulov said the militants would be recognised when they "start fulfilling the expectations of the international community on human rights and inclusion," Kabulov said.

The Kremlin's envoy to Afghanistan said the Taliban gave participants of the negotiations in Moscow, including China and Pakistan, assurances the group was making headway on rights and governance issues.

China, Pakistan and Russia promise aid for Taliban but no recognition on eve of Moscow talks

Taliban representatives told Kabulov they "are working on improving governance and improving human rights," he told reporters. "We'll see," Kabulov said.

He also called on the international community to abandon its "bias" and unite to help the Afghan people.

"Not everyone likes the new government in Afghanistan, but by punishing the government, we punish the whole people," he said.

He said that a joint statement from all 10 participating countries concluding the talks would call on the United Nations to convene a donor conference to raise funds for Afghanistan.

Taliban representatives did not immediately address reporters following Kabulov's comments to journalists.

Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Salam Hanafi, a senior figure in the new Afghan leadership, however, said earlier Wednesday that Afghanistan's new leadership was "already inclusive".

"We don't need foreign military aid, we need support for peace in Afghanistan, we need reconstruction and resettlement," Hanafi said.

'Recognise efforts to stabilise Afghanistan'

Meanwhile, Russia also recognised Taliban efforts to try and stabilise the situation in Afghanistan but expressed concern that "terrorist" groups threatened the stability of the entire region.

"A new administration is in power now," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told officials from 10 countries including China and Pakistan.

"We note their efforts to stabilise the military and political situation and set up work of the state apparatus."

But Russia's top diplomat also said that "numerous terrorist groups" including Islamic State fighters and al-Qaeda have been seeking to exploit a security vacuum in the country and raise their profile.

Lavrov expressed regret that US officials did not take part in the talks.

He urged the international community to mobilise and provide Kabul with "effective" aid to prevent a humanitarian crisis and a further refugee exodus.

The talks come after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned last week that IS fighters were gathering in Afghanistan to spread discord in former Soviet republics flanking Russia.

Moscow has reached out to the Taliban and hosted its representatives in Moscow several times in recent years, even though the Taliban is a designated terrorist organisation in Russia.

IS, drug trafficking concerns

Putin and senior Russian officials have been voicing a slew of security-related concerns since the Taliban wrested control of Afghanistan and foreign troops pulled out after nearly 20 years.

The Russian president cautioned last week that some 2,000 fighters loyal to the Islamic State group had converged in northern Afghanistan, adding that their leaders planned to send them into neighbouring Central Asian countries disguised as refugees.

Lavrov has warned that drug trafficking from Afghanistan had reached "unprecedented" levels, a concern echoed by the Kremlin during meetings with other Central Asia countries and China.

Despite reaching out to the Taliban, Putin and Russian officials have in recent weeks made clear Moscow is not moving towards formal recognition of the militant regime.

"The official recognition is not being discussed and that has been stated publicly," Lavrov has said.

In the 1980s, Moscow fought a disastrous decade-long war in Afghanistan that killed up to two million Afghans, forced seven million more from their homes and led to the deaths of more than 14,000 Soviet troops.

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Zarzan khan Oct 20, 2021 10:11pm
Why? Has Russia got clean chit on human rights from west?
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