MOSCOW: Russia on Monday said it was preparing international peace talks on Afghanistan on September 4 and has invited the Taliban, the day after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani declared a new 3-month ceasefire.
“We are preparing it for September 4,” Zamir Kabulov, special representative of the Russian president on Afghanistan, said in an Interfax news agency report.
Asked whether the Taliban was invited to the meeting in Moscow, Kabulov said they were and that the talks were “in the framework of launching a process of national reconciliation in Afghanistan.”
He said Moscow views “positively” the truce offer extended by Ghani Sunday, which followed a bloody week of fighting across Afghanistan, including a Taliban assault against the important provincial capital Ghazni.
Russia “hopes that the Taliban will react positively” to the offer, Kabulov said.
The Taliban has not yet responded to the proposal, which was welcomed by NATO and the US.
In April 2017, Moscow hosted an international conference on Afghanistan with representatives from Afghanistan, India, Iran, China, Pakistan, and five former Soviet republics in Central Asia. The US was invited to that meeting but did not participate.
Russia and its allies called on the Taliban to lay down weapons and negotiate with the Afghan government directly. Moscow also declared its readiness to serve as a platform for dialogue following 17 years of conflict. –AFP