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Russia 'close' to restoring full-fledged relations with Taliban: Moscow

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published May 28,2024
(AA File Photo)

Russia is close to restoring full-fledged relations with the Taliban government in Afghanistan, said Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of the Security Council, on Tuesday.

"At the beginning of the 21st century, we considered the Taliban to be terrorists, and the Americans to be partners in the fight against extremism. Now everything is different," Medvedev told Russia's state news agency TASS in an interview.

He added: "Twenty years is a fairly long period, during which history has made many serious pirouettes."

Medvedev, who served as the Russian president from 2008 to 2012, said the Taliban administration is trying to pursue a constructive approach in relations with other countries.

Separately, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow is in contact with its Central Asian partners regarding the removal of the Taliban from the list of terrorist organizations.

Earlier on Monday, Zamir Kabulov, director of the Foreign Ministry's Second Asia Department, said both his ministry and the Ministry of Justice had reported to President Putin on the potential removal of the Taliban movement from the list of banned organizations.

Kabulov also mentioned that Russia had invited the Taliban to participate in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in separate remarks, has said the initiative to possibly exclude the Taliban from the list of terrorist organizations "reflects the current objective reality."

Meanwhile, Mohammad Suhail Shaheen, head of the Taliban's Political Office in Doha, Qatar, welcomed the Russian plan in an interview with Anadolu.

"We welcome the proposal of the Russian Foreign Ministry and Justice Ministry to President Putin to remove the status of a terrorist organization from IEA (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan)," he said in a statement sent to Anadolu.

"In fact, we never were terrorists but were fighting for (the) liberation of our country from claws of foreign occupation. This was our legitimate right. Unfortunately, it was a name coined by the invading forces and slapped on us for (the) obtainment of the invaders' political goals and was aimed at maligning us," he stressed.

Shaheen underscored that the Taliban want positive relations with neighboring, regional and world countries.

"Now, we are passing through a new era following (the) independence of Afghanistan. The situation requires us to take steps based on ground realities and do away with political labels of the past," he said.