Russia in no rush to recognise Taliban govt dominated by one community

Russia, a key player in the Afghan theatre, is still in a wait and watch mode and not rushing to recognise the Taliban government that is dominated by one community.

The Russian Embassy in Kabul that has reduced its staff over the last few weeks engages with the Taliban primarily for the safety of Russian diplomats, ET has learnt.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov recently stated that the contacts were being conducted through the embassy “in order to ensure the safety of our diplomats, and on other technical issues”. No other talks are planned and Russia plans to closely monitor the actions of the new government, he had said.

Moscow-based sources hinted to ET that the Russian government was of the opinion that the Taliban government was created against its recommendations on inclusivity. Moscow had engaged with the Taliban ahead of the dramatic fall of the Ghani government on August 15, but the Taliban went ahead to form a Pashtun-led and dominated government. India, too, has been suggesting establishment of an inclusive government which has representations from all ethnic groups of Afghanistan.

Andrei Serenko, an expert at the Moscow-based Center for Contemporary Afghan Studies, is of the opinion that the Taliban government was not capable of coping with the looming humanitarian catastrophe since it had neither the funding nor the management skills, according to a recent report in Russian state-run news agency TASS. Serenko also doesn’t expect humanitarian aid from China and Arab countries to last long.

“Moscow sees that the new Taliban government was created against its recommendations on inclusivity. Without the Taliban taking into account these recommendations, Russia won’t recognise their government,” Serenko claimed.

Last week, Russia pulled out of the planned inauguration of the Taliban government and its former President Dmitry Medvedev has warned against the spread of terror from Afghanistan into Eurasia. Russia has also activated CSTO — the collective security organisation of several ex-Soviet states — and has been involved in a series of military exercises with Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Also, Indian armed forces are part of an ongoing international counter-terror military exercise in Russia.

Andrei Kazantsev, chief researcher at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and professor with the Higher School of Economics, thinks that China’s more active friendly stance with regard to the Taliban was understandable, according to a report in TASS. “China is a long-time ally of Pakistan that actively supports the Taliban. Additionally, China wants to resolve the issue of Uyghur terrorists hiding in Afghanistan as well as to preserve its economic interests in the region, given that Afghanistan is taking part in the Belt and Road initiative, and has lithium and copper deposits,” Kazantsev noted.

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