Photo: Hafiz Zia Ahmad via Twitter

Russia invites the Taliban to attend the Moscow Format summit on Afghanistan

Russia has invited the Taliban to attend a summit in Moscow, a group’s spokesperson says.

Hafiz Ahmad, the Taliban’s deputy foreign ministry spokesperson, said on Saturday that the group’s foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, had met the Russian ambassador in Kabul, during which he was invited to attend a summit known as the Moscow Format.

The Moscow Format Consultations on Afghanistan was first held in 2017, with participants from 11 countries, including China, Iran, Pakistan and other regional states.

According to the Russian foreign ministry, the summit was formed to “facilitate the national reconciliation process in Afghanistan and secure peace in that country as soon as possible.”

The data for the Moscow summit has not been revealed and no further details have been provided.

Although not officially recognised, Moscow has kept close ties with the Taliban since the group’s return to power. It handed the embassy of Afghanistan to the group in April 2022.

The Taliban foreign minister has said the group “will make good use of the meeting within the framework of diplomatic relations.”

The Taliban has also been invited to UN organised gathering to be held in late 2023.