ISLAMABAD: The Afghan Taliban have signalled willingness to take part in a meeting that Russia is expected to host next month on peace and reconciliation in war-ravaged Afghanistan.
Russia has extended an invitation to 12 countries for consultations in Moscow on April 14.
The process of informal consultations was initially started by Pakistan, China and Russia in December and was expanded to six-nation talks in mid-February with the participation of Afghanistan, India and Iran. The US, some Central Asian states and the EU will also be invited to next month’s meeting.
Taliban officials say it is possible the group may participate in the Moscow meeting, if invited. “Our response would be positive if we get a formal invitation,” two Taliban officials said on Sunday.
Initially when Moscow had floated the idea of inviting the Taliban political representatives from the Qatar office, Kabul disagreed with the proposal and insisted that Afghans should lead the process not others.
But on Tuesday Afghanistan said it would welcome Russia’s diplomatic efforts for peace and stability in the war-torn country.
“The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan welcomes the Russian Federation’s recent position with regards to peace and stability in Afghanistan which states that their recent contacts with Afghan armed groups are aimed at promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region,” the Afghan foreign ministry said.