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Russia hopes for peaceful resolution in Afghanistan’s Panjshir — Lavrov

Russia hopes that the confrontation between the Taliban militant group (outlawed in Russia) and Afghan Tajiks in Panjshir will give way to negotiations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a speech before participants in the New Knowledge online educational marathon on Friday.

"As to the possibilities of resolving the problem of Afghanistan peacefully, I believe that they exist. I expect that now the last upsurges in the confrontation in northern Afghanistan in the Panjshir Gorge will give way to negotiations after all," Russia’s top diplomat said.

The negotiations began but were interrupted again and combat engagements restarted, the foreign minister said. "I hope that negotiations will begin between the Taliban and the Afghan Tajiks and an agreement on the political settlement should inevitably include a compromise between the Pashtuns that are mostly represented by the Taliban and also other Pashtuns, as well as Tajiks, Uzbeks and Khazareans who should also participate in this process," he pointed out.

Moscow is taking the most active efforts to facilitate the establishment of a dialogue between ethno-confessional groups in Afghanistan, Lavrov said, noting that the Russian side had held contacts with all the Afghan communities without exception, including the Taliban.

"Incidentally, it is cunning when they say that you must not communicate with them. A UN Security Council resolution does not declare the whole of the Taliban movement as a terrorist group but imposes specific sanctions on the specific Taliban leaders for specific wrongdoings, including terror activity, the involvement in drug trafficking and so on," Russia’s top diplomat said.

Situation in Afghanistan

The Taliban radical militant group launched a large-scale offensive to seize control of Afghanistan after the United States declared its intention last spring to withdraw its troops from the country.

On August 15, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani stepped down and fled the country. The Taliban entered Kabul without encountering any resistance. The forces opposing the Taliban rule offered armed resistance in the Panjshir province headed by Ahmad Massoud, son of the late powerful field commander Ahmad Shah Massoud (1953-2001). Afghanistan’s former Vice-President Amrullah Saleh who had proclaimed himself as the acting head of state issued a call to support Massoud. In his message earlier published in The Washington Post, Ahmad Massoud urged the West to assist the resistance forces with weapons and ammunition.

[Source: Tass, Moscow, 03Sep21]

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