Date: 29 November 2021

Russian Diplomatic Game Towards The Taliban Is Falling Apart

Moscow is making it clear it was not satisfied with the latest decision by the Taliban government in Afghanistan. Russia is seeking to exert further pressure on the authorities in Kabul to milden its stance. The Taliban’s overly radical approach is barring Moscow and Beijing from making the new Afghani government an internationally recognized actor.


On November 15, Russian Special Presidential Representative Zamir Kabulov met with U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West in Moscow. The meeting was West’s first trip to the region since taking over from Zalmay Khalilzad in October, for whom he was deputy. After the meeting, Kabulov said they discussed “all the issues in Afghanistan.” The Russian diplomat added the Taliban are trying to deliver on their promises, but too slowly. Four days before, Pakistan hosted China, Russia, and the United States for talks on Afghanistan. at the same time as a Taliban delegation led by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi. Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, promised to involve the Taliban officially in future regional meetings. “God willing, we will invite them in the next meeting in Beijing so that their concerns should be shared with the world, and they should know what the world community expects from them in return,” Qureshi told journalists. In a joint statement after the meeting, the four countries of the Troika Plus format pressed the Taliban to provide access to education for women and girls of all ages. Since their takeover on August 15, the Taliban have effectively banned girls from secondary education in Afghanistan. In its statement, the countries of the Troika Plus urged the Taliban to ensure unhindered humanitarian access to the nation. The UN said in a report that more than 22 million people in Afghanistan will face acute food insecurity this winter. The U.S. has frozen nearly $10 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank and stopped shipments of cash to the nation until the Taliban fulfill their commitments to the international community. The Troika Plus is a Moscow-made platform that includes Russia, the USA, China, Pakistan, and Iran. However, Iran has been reluctant to attend meetings that put its officials face to face with U.S. officials. The November 11 summit in Islamabad was the fourth meeting since the Taliban seized power in the country. The previous ones took place in Moscow, Tehran, and New Delhi. Absent at the meeting were diplomats from China and Pakistan. Their absence amid poor bilateral ties and Iran’s reluctance to attend the Islamabad meeting is a signal that it is unrealistic to work out a common stance on Afghanistan.

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