Russian ambassador meets with Taliban officials in Kabul

Talks based on whether Moscow will officially recognise the new government

Russia’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Dmitry Zhirnov held a "constructive" meeting with a Taliban official on Tuesday in Kabul.

The talks were based on whether Moscow will officially recognise the government under the Taliban leadership after the group seized control of the country on Sunday.

“The meeting was positive and constructive. Taliban representatives said that the Taliban movement has the most friendly, the best approach to Russia. They confirmed the embassy's security guarantees,” Mr Zhirnov said in an interview with Russian state Television channel “Russia 24.”

“There will be no obstacles to the embassy's activities. There will be no deterioration in status compared to the previous government. All our needs will be met,” he said.

The Russian ambassador said the Taliban is “restoring order in the city” and have succeeded.

He said that the meeting was purely technical given that there is still no central authority in Kabul, just a “de facto senior Taliban” member.

The Russian official said the Taliban can be “tough” but rejected claims of a “bloodbath that westerners had anticipated”.

“They behave in a responsible, civilised manner,” Mr Zhirnov said.

The Taliban representative asked to not be named, said the Russian ambassador.

On Monday, Moscow said it will asses recognising the new government based on their "actions and conduct."

Earlier in the day, a senior Taliban leader Amir Khan Muttaqi, who is believed to be in the Afghan capital, was expected to hold talks with Kabul’s leaders, including Abdullah Abdullah, who once headed the country’s negotiating council, and former President Hamid Karzai.

The official says the talks under way in the Afghan capital are aimed at bringing other non-Taliban leaders into the government that Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen has said will be an “inclusive Afghan government.”

On Tuesday, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman met with Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Doha to discuss the latest political developments in Afghanistan.

“The meeting reviewed the latest security and political developments in Afghanistan, stressing on the protection of civilians, intensifying the necessary efforts to achieve national reconciliation,” according to a statement by Qatar’s News Agency.

It also said the two sides oversaw works on for a “comprehensive political settlement and a peaceful transfer of power, with the importance of preserving the gains made by the Afghan people.”

Updated: August 18th 2021, 12:36 PM