The Taliban met with emissaries from the Kabul government on Friday in Russia.
This is not their first contact, there were others previously, unofficial, but this is the first time that emissaries from Kabul and Taliban have been in public at the same table. At the "international" meeting on Afghanistan, held in Moscow on Friday 9 November, this moment was immortalized by a photo in which the two sides were flanked in the middle by their host, the foreign Russian Foreign Minister , Sergey Lavrov. The direct talks between enemy brothers, however, remained there, at a standstill.
"We discussed the idea of direct talks with the Taliban and suggested choosing the place and date" said Sayed Ihsan Tahiri, spokesman for the High Council for Peace (HCP). Four members of this body who did not have the real power to oversee the peace process in Afghanistan were sent, instead of the government, to renew President Ashraf Ghani's proposal to open negotiations without preconditions. What Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, who runs the Taliban political office in Doha, Qatar, has not responded. "First, we do not recognize the current government as legitimate, so we will not negotiate with them" he said at the end of the meeting.
"Knowing that our main request is the withdrawal of foreign troops, we will discuss a peaceful agreement with the United States", continued the head of the Taliban delegation, while offering a good point to Russia: "The Moscow format was a success: we listened to the positions of all the participants and we expressed our opinions."
For the Taliban movement, Friday's meeting allowed a further step forward in recognizing its political weight in Afghanistan. Observatories …