Russia in consultation with Pak China makes new offer to Afghan government, Taliban

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Russia in consultation with Pak China makes new offer to Afghan government, Taliban

MOSCOW - Russia called on Wednesday for urgent talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, its Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

“We strongly recommend that negotiations start as soon as possible... to put an end to the civil war,” the statement said.

The statement said that Moscow firmly supported an early start to direct talks “in the interest of ending a fratricidal civil war” and that it was “ready to provide an appropriate platform”.

Moscow has in recent months become increasingly concerned that Afghanistan might become a new staging ground for Central Asian extremists pushed out of Syria and Iraq after the defeat of Daesh in the region.

Moscow claims such a scenario could destabilise Russia’s Central Asian neighbours and threaten its own security.

Russia has been discussing the Afghanistan’s conflict with China and Pakistan since 2016.

Last year, the Kremlin organised further talks that included the Afghan government as well as India and Iran. Moscow invited the US, which chose not to participate.

Despite having fought the Taliban in the 1979-89 Afghanistan war in the Soviet era, Moscow now advocates engagement because the militant group it not considered to have ambitions beyond Afghanistan, in contrast to Daesh.