Afghanistan’s Western-backed government unexpectedly collapsed over the weekend, less than two weeks after the Taliban began an assault on the country’s major cities amid the US and NATO withdrawal which began in May.
Russia is in favour of a national dialogue involving all of Afghanistan’s political forces, and welcomes the Taliban’s recent statement that they are ready for such dialogue, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.
The Russian foreign minister stressed that Moscow proceeds from the understanding that all of these forces have a desire to negotiate in the interests of the Afghan people, and said that Russia will do everything in its power to encourage talks and to ensure that such dialogue leads to concrete agreements.
In this light, Lavrov said that Russia is ready to resume the so-called “Moscow format” of talks on Afghanistan. He pointed out that in addition to inter-Afghan forces, all five states of Central Asia, plus China, Pakistan, India, Iran and the United States have participated in the Moscow format negotiations in the past.
Russia began hosting the ‘Moscow format’ consultations on Afghanistan in April 2017, with the stated objective being to facilitate a national reconciliation process and secure peace in the war-torn country.
Moscow has been watching the situation in Afghanistan closely, and recently held large-scale military exercises near the country’s borders together with its…