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Russia maintains contacts with Taliban, while West backs their opponents — Putin

"It is in our interests to prevent a recurrence of the civil war in Afghanistan," the Russian leader emphasized

ASTANA, October 14. /TASS/. Western secret services provide support for Afghan groups opposing the Taliban movement (banned in Russia), while Russia in these conditions maintains the necessary level of contacts with the Taliban, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the Russia-Central Asia summit on Friday.

"Western secret services, primarily US and British ones, are providing support for groups opposing the Taliban and encouraging them to shell the border areas of some Central Asian countries. We are aware of the risks and threats associated with this, and therefore we maintain the necessary level of contacts with the leadership of the Taliban movement," Putin said. "It is in our interests to prevent a recurrence of the civil war in Afghanistan." He described the situation in that country a smoldering hotbed of tension, fraught with an exodus of refugees and terrorist threats.

"Amid the economic decline the Taliban government is forced to condone some ways of making money already traditional for Afghanistan, including drug trafficking," Putin noted. "Under pressure from foreign secret services, the Taliban have to turn a blind eye to the emergence of terrorist strongholds in the north [of Afghanistan]. Jihadists’ cross-border ties are a threat to all of us," the Russian leader stressed.

"Of course, we should need to stay in touch with the current authorities in Afghanistan. You know my position. But this is also a subject matter for our thorough analysis and coordination of our work along these lines," Putin concluded. He promised his counterparts from Central Asia that Moscow would continue to maintain close contacts with them on this agenda.

The summit has brought together the presidents of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.