Afghanistan, Russia: Taliban Delegation Meets Russian Envoy in Moscow

Clay Curtis
September 19, 2019

The head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan has praised almost a year of peace talks between the USA government and the Taliban militant group.

The Taliban's decision to send a delegation to Russian Federation - and possibly other countries in the future - indicates the group's aspiration to position itself as a legitimate diplomatic actor that takes the considerations of other regional powers into account. The talks, the most serious and sustained in all these years, had raised hopes for peace even though these were just the beginning of the peace process as tougher intra-Afghan negotiations involving the Afghans, including the Taliban, Afghan government and Afghan opposition, had to take place in the second phase.

Yamamoto stressed that the United Nations will offer full support to allow the USA and the Taliban to resume negotiations. The militants, fighting to restore their version of strict Islamic law to Afghanistan, said their campaign was a response to a more aggressive USA military strategy adopted in 2017, which aims to force the militants into peace talks. One may include the Taliban announcing a ceasefire and entering into direct talks with the Afghan government before signing a formal deal.

"The Taliban has never been hit harder than it is being hit right now", he said. Killing 12 people, including one great American soldier, was not a good idea.

Furthermore, Trump said "There are much better ways to set up a negotiation".

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Moscow has twice this year hosted meetings between the Taliban and prominent Afghan personalities.

Those deaths, too, could have provided justification for ending the talks that began in July 2018 when senior State Department official, Alice Wells, secretly met Taliban representatives in Doha, Qatar before getting replaced in September by the Afghan-born Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation.

Sediqqi said that the Afghan government has suspended its own peace efforts for now. Perhaps that's why India, which is increasingly upset over being left out of the Pakistan-facilitated peace process, was quick to welcome Trump's decision to call off the peace talks.

Rahimi added that two other civilians were wounded when Friday's blast occurred in the Tagab district. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

Also in southern Kandahar province, in an insider attack, two policemen turned on their colleagues and shot dead at least nine police officers at a checkpoint, according to a provincial official who spoke on condition of anonymity, because he was not authorized to talk to media.

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