Russia Says Only Hosting Taliban-Afghan Politicians Meeting

The Russian Embassy in Kabul says Moscow is only hosting the meeting between the Taliban and Afghan politicians and that not attending the gathering which is scheduled on Tuesday.

Taliban are expected to meet with the Afghan politicians who are opposed to the government of President Ghani – which has found itself excluded from the talks seeking an end to the 17-year war.

Some of the Afghan politicians who are reportedly attending the Moscow summit include Hamid Karzai, the former president, and Atta Mohammad Noor, a former governor, and leader of Jamiat-e-Islami political party, Mohammad Mohaqiq, the leader of Wahdat party.

The Russian Embassy told Ariana News on Saturday that Moscow is only organizing the event and that has no role in the agenda of the meeting.

According to the embassy, Russia would only provide technical support to the summit.

Earlier, TASS, the Russian state-run news agency also said that Afghan community in Russia was organizing the meeting, which was not part of the series of international Moscow conferences on Afghanistan.

Moscow Conference Agenda

Sayed Akbar Agha, a former member of the Taliban said that the conference will focus on the current situation in Afghanistan and ways to ensure peace; however, he said the talks would not lead into an agreement.  

For the Taliban to ignore the Afghan government and meet with some of the country’s major political leaders would further anger President Ghani.

“The government and the nation should be united in bringing peace. Initiating peace talks through multiple channels won’t help us to ensure peace,” said Massoud Trushtwal, a spokesman for the Council of the Protection and Stability of Afghanistan.

The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, meanwhile, said that without the presence of the Afghan government, Moscow talks would not help the peace process and insisted on Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace talks.

This comes as the Taliban have repeatedly refused to hold direct talks with Kabul despite pressures from regional countries, as the armed group insists the U.S. is their main adversary.