MOSCOW: Taliban are ready to talk with Afghanistan’s government only after agreeing with the United States on a schedule for the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country, Russian Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said Monday.
"They said that they would be ready to talk with the Afghan government only after reaching an agreement with the Americans on the schedule for withdrawing all foreign troops from Afghanistan.
As a confidence-building measure, the Taliban have preliminarily demanded the release of all political prisoners and the cancellation of anti-Taliban sanctions imposed on them back in 1997," Kabulov said at a press conference.
The Taliban are ready to take part in the next meeting on Afghanistan in Moscow, Kabulov noted as quoted by Russia’s Sputnik news agency. "Yes. In principle, the Taliban are ready. They really liked it, they are ready to take part," Kabulov said at a press conference when asked about the prospects for the Taliban’s participation in a new meeting of the Moscow format.
The November 9 meeting of the Moscow format on Afghanistan may be considered a breakthrough, because for the first time the Taliban attended it, which is the first step toward further full-format peace talks, according to Russian Foreign Ministry Second Asian Department Director Zamir Kabulov, who also serves as an envoy for Afghanistan. "The United States had enough time, 17 years, to do a lot of what it originally intended. But? If you remember, in 2001 the presence of the Taliban in Afghanistan was zero, today the Taliban control more than 60 per cent of the country? This is the presence of America and Nato in Afghanistan. What kind of presence is this, which does not solve the problem, but contributes to its growth? We do not need such leadership," Kabulov stated. He contended that the national security interests of Russia and its allies are at stake.