Taliban express willingness to resume talks

On Friday, September 13, a Taliban delegation visited Moscow to meet Russian officials and discuss development on peace process in Afghanistan. The visit came after the United States called off peace talks with the Taliban insurgents.

According to Russian media, the Taliban delegation had held talks with Zamir Kabulov, Russian presidential envoy for Afghanistan. The two sides discusses “the recent developments regarding the peace process in Afghanistan.”

Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, the chief Taliban negotiator, who leads the Taliban delegation, told RT television the Taliban had hammered out a formal agreement with US negotiators and the two sides, hosted by Qatari government, were preparing for a deal signing ceremony while US President Trump abruptly called off the process.

Talking to Russian media, Stanikzai underlined that the Taliban was committed to return to the negotiating table as the conflict in Afghanistan had no other solution. “We hope that Mr. Trump rethinks his announcement and comes back to where we were,” he said.

He, however, noted that Taliban was prepared to fight 100 more years if the US was not willing to negotiate with them.

On the 18th anniversary of 9/11, US President Donald Trump abruptly cancelled peace talks that was about to be finalized with Taliban negotiators in a secret meeting at Camp David.

Russian officials on Thursday announced that Moscow welcomed Taliban’s willingness to continue talks with the US. “There is no alternative to a political and diplomatic approach to settle the crisis in Afghanistan,” said Maria Zakharova, spokesperson for the Russian foreign ministry.  

Russia maintains close ties with the Taliban insurgents. Moscow has recently hosted several meetings between insurgent representatives and prominent Afghan politicians, as part of Russia’s efforts to end the ongoing war in Afghanistan.