The Russian ambassador to Afghanistan said he had a “constructive” and “positive” meeting with Taliban representatives in Kabul to discuss security for the Russian diplomatic mission.
Tuesday's meeting was announced the day before by the Kremlin envoy on Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, who also said the Taliban has already started guarding the outside perimeter of the Russian embassy.
Ambassador Dmitry Zhirnov told Russian state TV Tuesday that the meeting was “dedicated exclusively to the security of the embassy” and involved “senior Taliban representatives in the city who were accepting the surrender of the remnants of the self-disbanded Afghan national security forces.”
“The meeting was positive and constructive,” Zhirnov said. “The Taliban representatives said the Taliban has the friendliest ... approach to Russia. They confirmed guarantees of security for the embassy.”
Russia designated the Taliban a terrorist organization in 2003, but has since hosted several rounds of talks in Afghanistan, most recently in March, that involved the group.
Moscow, which fought a 10-year war in Afghanistan that ended with the Soviet troops' withdrawal in 1989, has made a diplomatic comeback as a mediator, reaching out to feuding Afghan factions as it has jockeyed with the US for influence in the country. (AP)