Russia began establishing contacts with members of the Taliban seven years ago in order to let them know its opinion about the security in the region. On July 14, Zamir Kabulov, the Russian president’s special representative for Afghanistan and director of the second department of Asia at the Russian Foreign Ministry, announced this.
Kabulov noted that Moscow had expected several years ago that the situation in the region would worsen due to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country.
“If we call things by their proper names, we foresaw it much earlier, and that is why we started establishing contacts with the Taliban movement seven years ago… Let’s not forget that we’re talking about tactical actions now. But let’s go back to the big, strategic outcomes of events in Afghanistan. Until a few years ago, there was a network of American military bases there and most of them had nothing strategic to do with Afghanistan, they projected power to the whole region, including us, Central Asia, Iran, Pakistan and China. Where are those bases? They are gone, and that says it all,” said Kabulov, as quoted by RIA Novosti.
The special presidential representative for Afghanistan also noted that if Russia had not started contacts with the Taliban several years ago to make its concerns and interests known to them, Russia would have ended up in the place of the Western countries. Kabulov noted that by establishing contact with the Taliban, Moscow could have a dialogue with any of the forces in Afghanistan
Earlier, on July 9, Konstantin Zatulin, first deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots, said that negotiations between Russia and the Taliban make sense because the Taliban is an influential political force with which it must seek compromise.
On July 8, a delegation from the Taliban’s political office arrived in Moscow for talks with Kabulov. The Russian Foreign Ministry reported after the consultations that the meeting discussed the situation in Afghanistan and the prospects of launching relevant negotiations.
It was reported that the representatives of the movement reaffirmed their interest in achieving lasting peace in the country through negotiations that take into consideration the interests of all ethnic groups in Afghanistan. They also expressed their readiness to observe human rights, including those of women, within the framework of Islamic norms and Afghan traditions, the ministry stressed.