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MOSCOW, December 7. /TASS/. Russia is not conducting any behind-the-scenes talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan, nor does it provide any support for it, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in response to a recent statement by the commander of the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan John Nicholson.
"We have confirmed more than once that Russia is not conducting any behind-the-scenes negotiations with the Taliban, nor does it provide any support for it," Zakharova said. "We proceed from the assumption that the intra-Afghan conflict can have no military solution, while the achievement of peace in that country will be possible only through negotiations.
At the same time Zakharova pointed out that getting such negotiations going without contacts with the Taliban, which in fact is one of the parties to the political process in Afghanistan," would be impossible.
The Russian Foreign Ministry took note of General Nicholson’s statements at a recent briefing in the Pentagon, in particular, his claims "Russia has overtly lent legitimacy to the Taliban." Nicholson also alleged that Moscow was supporting the Taliban, thus upsetting efforts by the United States, NATO and the authorities in Kabul in fighting against terrorism.
"We’ve heard our counterparts in Washington say many things," Zakharova said. "This particular one, though, is particularly shortsighted."