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1 Apr, 2024 14:26

Russia invites Taliban to forum

Afghanistan is expected to participate in the annual event, devoted to economic cooperation between Moscow and the Islamic world
Russia invites Taliban to forum

The Taliban has been invited to participate in an upcoming economic forum in Russia, according to Moscow’s special presidential envoy on Afghanistan. Zamir Kabulov confirmed to TASS on Monday that Taliban representatives plan to take part in the event.

The 15th international ‘Russia-Islamic World: KazanForum’ will be held on May 14-19 in Kazan, the capital of Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan. It is the main platform for economic cooperation between Moscow and the countries of the Islamic world, according to the forum’s website.

Kabulov did not provide any further details, but said that cooperation between Russia and the Taliban government in Afghanistan on countering international terrorism “is carried out on a regular basis.” 

It is not the first time that the Taliban has been invited to the Kazan forum. Kabulov, however, who also serves as the director of the second Asian Department at the Russian Foreign Ministry, clarified last year that the Taliban’s participation “absolutely does not mean” its recognition by Moscow.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry told TASS on Monday that the issue of withdrawing the ‘terrorist organization’ designation from the Taliban is currently being worked out, with the final decision to be made by the country’s top leadership.

Although Russia has not formally recognized the Taliban, which took power in Kabul in 2021 during the final stage of the withdrawal of US troops, Moscow was among the first to establish contacts and agree business deals with the new government. Not a single country officially recognizes the Taliban government.

The Taliban first came to power in Afghanistan in the 1990s but was ousted in 2001 during the US-led invasion. The Taliban insurgency continued for 20 years, culminating in a march on Kabul in August 2021, during which internationally recognized President Ashraf Ghani was forced to flee the country.

After assuming power once again, the Taliban promised not to allow any discrimination against women. The group, however, soon adopted a set of regulations restricting female participation in public life. The move has drawn criticism from the UN and international human rights organizations.