Moscow (Times Of Ocean)- As Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted on Thursday, Russia has accredited the Taliban’s diplomat to engage with the new Afghan government but is concerned about Islamists slipping over into Russia via Central Asia.
A Russian-hosted conference on Afghanistan last year was aimed at reaching a peace agreement and curbing violence between the Taliban and the then-Afghan government. The Taliban have been labeled a “terrorist organization” by Russia, but the country has welcomed their members numerous times for talks.
After 20 years in Afghanistan, the United States and its allies drew their troops out in August as a result of the Russian mediation efforts.
As part of an Afghanistan-focused conference in China, Lavrov emphasized that growing trade and economic ties between Afghanistan and countries in the region contribute to the potential international recognition of the Afghan administration.
A Taliban envoy was already working in Moscow, he said.
“I would like to note that the first Afghan diplomat who arrived in Moscow last month and was sent by the new authorities has received accreditation at the Russian Foreign Ministry,” he said.
Russia is concerned about possible fallout across the wider region, as well as the possibility of Islamist militants infiltrating the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, which is seen as its southern defensive buffer.
“The plans of the Islamic State and its supporters to destabilize Central Asian states and export instability to Russia are of particular concern,” Lavrov said.
“The build-up of detachments of Jamaat Ansarullah and the Islamic Movement Uzbekistan around the Afghan-Tajik and Afghan-Uzbek borders are an alarming sign.”
Since last year’s Taliban takeover, Moscow has conducted military exercises in Tajikistan and enhanced its military assets there.