On Wednesday, October 20, representatives of the radical Taliban movement (a terrorist organization banned in the Russian Federation) will take part in a meeting on Afghanistan in Moscow. The Russian Foreign Ministry has received the Taliban three times this year. However, this conference, the so-called “Moscow format”, will be held in a new environment. It will be the first international meeting with the participation of the Taliban since their seizure of power in Kabul. We spoke with an expert about her role and prospects.
“The current international conference on Afghanistan in Moscow will be held in a new environment,” comments Omar Nessar, director of the Center for the Study of Contemporary Afghanistan, to MK. – Previously, the Taliban represented an anti-government movement, respectively, and the attitude towards them was different. And despite the fact that in Russia and a number of other states the Taliban is still considered a banned terrorist organization, power in the country is in the hands of its representatives, and this, of course, must be taken into account.
However, the Taliban themselves want to be the only political force representing Afghanistan. According to some reports, they actively opposed leaders of other political forces coming to Moscow. In addition, after the fall of Kabul, the role of individual political movements outside the country is, in principle, not entirely clear. “
According to the expert, this time the composition of the participants in the Moscow talks will also change. We are talking not only about Afghans, but also about other international players. The conference, for example, will not be attended by a delegation from the United States. This has already been announced by the head of the press service of the State Department, Ned Price.
“If we talk about the Afghan delegation, it will be headed by the second deputy prime minister in the interim Taliban cabinet, Abdul Salam Hanafi,” continues Omar Nessar. – By himself, he is not such an influential person in the movement. But from the protocol point of view, his status is more significant than, for example, the status of the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ”.
“Now the main goal of the Taliban is to use every international platform (including a conference in Moscow) in order to convey their point of view to the world community,” the expert said. – They regard any contact, especially within the framework of such solemn and official events, as a step towards their legalization and recognition by other states. Perhaps at the beginning they were not even completely satisfied with some protocol moments, but nevertheless decided to participate in the meeting.
Tactical tasks, in particular, against the background of the failure of the US peace plan, are, of course, also set by Russia. Moscow initiatives are continuing, and this is probably the signal that the Russian Federation would like first of all to convey to the international community. Although it is too early to talk about the real results of the meeting. The situation in Afghanistan is so difficult that it will hardly be possible to resolve anything after it. Unless certain positions can be voiced. But in view of the fact that the Afghan presence at the current talks will be in a more reduced version than in previous times, their organizers, most likely, will focus on the presence of regional parties. “
Recently, the rhetoric of Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding the Taliban has changed somewhat, the specialist noted. Earlier, the Russian leader, speaking about the situation in Afghanistan at the Council of the Heads of the CIS countries, recalled the threat posed by the militants of the “Islamic State” (IS, an organization banned in Russia, recognized as terrorist). Putin expressed concern that terrorists who previously fought in Iraq and Syria are now gathering in Afghanistan, stressing that there are now more than 2,000 of them. They are based mainly in the north of the country, and their leaders are hatching plans to influence other countries, including Russia.
In turn, the Taliban leaders denied President Putin’s fears. They called them “groundless” and assured that IS does not enjoy the support of the population in any part of Afghanistan.