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Afghan Taliban no longer Russia’s enemy — Russian diplomat

According to Zamir Kabulov, relations between Russia and the Taliban are on the rise but "there are certain political limits"

NEW DELHI, May 15. /TASS/. The Afghan radical movement Taliban (outlawed in Russia) is no longer an enemy to Russia, a high-ranking Russian foreign ministry official told TASS.

"I don’t mean to say that the Taliban are our number one friends but, obviously, they are not enemies. The Taliban openly say that they trust Russia as the former Soviet Union’s successor," Zamir Kabulov, director of the ministry’s second Asia department, said after the Russian-Indian consultations on Afghanistan.

"The Taliban are former mujahid who fought against the Soviet army and the former Afghan regime that was supported by the Soviet Union. And having fought against other foreign troops, they came to the conclusion that the Soviet Union not only waged a war in Afghanistan but also built. And that the Soviet Union had no expansionist plans. Yes, the Soviet Union had its specific worldviews, which ran counter of Afghanistan’s traditional views. The Taliban consider that our actions were wrong but they give credit to the real contribution to Afghanistan’s modernization made by the Society Union," he said.

According to Kabulov, relations between Russia and the Taliban are on the rise but "there are certain political limits." "Russia has not yet officially recognized the current regime in Kabul. But we maintain relations via our embassy in Kabul. We have allowed a Taliban mission operate in Russia at the level of a charge d’affaires and have a military and trade attaches. Some time ago, when the Taliban was fighting against the Americans, they said: the Americans have watches but we have time. Now Russia has both watches and time," he stressed.

After the Biden administration announced the end of its US military operation in Afghanistan and the launch of its troop pullout, the Taliban embarked on an offensive against Afghan government forces. On August 15, Taliban fighters swept into Kabul without encountering any resistance and gained full control over the Afghan capital within a few hours. Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani said he had stepped down to prevent any bloodshed and subsequently fled the country. The Taliban government has not yet been recognized either by Russia or India.