India to meet Taliban at Moscow meet on Afghanistan, but not officially

Sergey Lavrov said the meeting is meant to seek paths to national reconciliation in Afghanistan

Sergey Lavrov said the meeting is meant to seek paths to national reconciliation in Afghanistan

Russian Federation has said that invitations for the meet has been sent out to India, Iran, China, Pakistan, the US, Afghanistan and other countries.

The US Embassy in Moscow has sent a diplomat to observe Friday's discussions at the meeting which is being attended by representatives from Afghanistan, India, Iran, China, Pakistan and some other countries.

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov inaugurated the summit with his speech and said he expects the participants would hold serious and constructive talks regarding Afghan reconciliation.

Marking a significant shift in US policy long sought by the terrorist group, the Trump administration has engaged in direct negotiations with the Taliban to end the war.

"Where did we say that there will be talks with the Taliban?"

"It's not a negotiation", Shaheen told reporters. "If China does find a solution, it will be indigestible for the U.S.", he added.

The insurgent group fighting with Afghan forces and their US backers contests or controls half of Afghanistan, more than at any time since the Taliban was toppled in 2001 in an American-led invasion to destroy terrorist training camps run by Osama Bin Laden.

Bringing the Taliban and Afghanistan on the table is seen as another major diplomatic win for Moscow, since the Islamist group had consistently refused to negotiate with the elected Afghan government, calling it an "American puppet".

It was reportedly the second time a US diplomat has met with the Taliban after the Trump administration told its foreign representatives to seek direct engagement with the militant group.

The Taliban has confirmed that it will send representatives to Moscow.

"This government does not represent the people of Afghanistan, so we reject direct contact with them before the problem with the U.S.is solved".

An unnamed source told the National that Kabul snubbed the event, choosing instead to send the members from the country's independent High Peace Council (HPC), who "will be attending the talks in their own capacity". "They want a US-sponsored solution to the issue". Even as the talks began, officials in Afghanistan said a Taliban attack had killed 10 soldiers.

In August, the Afghan government announced that Afghanistan and Russian Federation would co-chair proposed future talks in Moscow on Afghanistan's peace.

Russia's re-emergence in Afghan affairs in part reflects a broader strategy to bolster its appearance as a power-broker on the world stage.

The push for India's involvement is believed to have come directly from the Kremlin.

But Russia is also concerned a USA failure in Afghanistan will see it become a renewed source of terrorism, and is already seeking to block the flow of narcotics from the country.

He emphasized the threat posed by the Islamic State group in Afghanistan, saying that it has relied on foreign sponsors in a bid to "turn Afghanistan into a springboard for its expansion in Central Asia".

The Taliban spokesman, Shaheen, called Russia's role "positive".

Stanikzai also rejected allegations that they are being supplied weapons by Russian Federation.

The Moscow event brought up some hard history. While the Taliban outright control just four percent of Afghanistan, they are operating in 70 percent of the country.

Haji Din Mohammad Azizullah, head of the Kabul delegation, confirmed that he had "brief talks" with the Taliban members at a working lunch, characterising the talks as "friendly", according to Anadolu Agency.

"He's happy to be here".

Afghan Ambassador to Russia Qayum Kochai joined the group in Moscow.

"That I don't know".

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