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Russia to skip meeting with Afghan activists in Qatar — embassy in Kabul

According to the statement, the selection of "so-called Afghan civil activists" was conducted non-transparently, behind Kabul's back

DUBAI, February 19. /TASS/. At Kabul's request, Moscow won’t send a delegation to an event in Qatar that will be attended by so-called Afghan activists, the Russian Embassy in Afghanistan said.

The event will be part of the meeting of special envoys on Afghanistan under the auspices of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

"In this regard, at the request of the Afghan authorities, the Russian side has decided to refrain from participating in the event with the participation of so-called Afghan civil activists, whose selection, by the way, was conducted non-transparently, behind Kabul's back," the embassy said in a statement on Telegram.

According to the embassy, representatives of the Taliban (banned in Russia) were invited only to a "less important segment of events" that take place as part of the meeting of special envoys on Afghanistan in Doha under the auspices of Guterres. The organizers ignored "Kabul's requests to participate as a side representing all of Afghanistan," which was one of the conditions for the Taliban's presence at the conference. So, the delegation headed by Amir Khan Mottaki, foreign minister in the interim Afghan government, was forced to cancel its trip to the Qatari capital. The Russian Embassy described Kabul's position as "justified."

Earlier, the Taliban announced two conditions for their participation in the Doha meeting. A statement issued by the Taliban said their delegation should be the only one representating Afghanistan. The group also insisted on holding direct talks with Guterres.

On February 9, Zamir Kabulov, the Russian president's special envoy for Afghanistan and director of the Foreign Ministry's Second Asia Department, told TASS that a new international meeting of special envoys on Afghanistan under the auspices of the UN secretary general would be held in Doha from February 18-19. The diplomat said that he would represent Russia at the meeting.