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Russia warns Taliban against undermining regional security

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file photo, Russian presidential envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov (L) is seen speaking to the Taliban political leaders. (By AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for Afghanistan has warned the Taliban that any attempt to undermine security in the region would lead to grave consequences for the Afghan militant group.

Zamir Kabulov told Russia’s Sputnik on Wednesday that Moscow was “closely monitoring the situation” as the Taliban overran areas in Afghanistan, bordering five countries — Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, China, and Pakistan.

“But, when the Taliban see that any attempt to undermine the security of our allies in Central Asia will be fraught with great losses for them, they will start behaving,” Kabulov said.

The militant group has claimed to have seized control of 85 percent of Afghan territory over the past weeks.

Since the US started the formal withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan in May, the militants have intensified attacks across the country. That has prompted Russia to criticize the United States and its NATO allies for having failed to stabilize the security situation in Afghanistan after two decades of war and occupation.

Russia said last week that it was ready to use its military base in Tajikistan “to prevent any aggressive impulses toward our allies.”

Kabulov also touched on the issue of intra-Afghan talks, saying that “the parties will be ready for substantial, productive negotiations in the fall.”

“Now, before it is too late, the sides should come to their senses and launch substantial negotiations, which will inevitably end with the establishment of a coalition provisional authority,” said the Russian envoy.

According to Kabulov, the only way for the Afghan warring parties to break the political deadlock and end the violence is to form a transitional government.

“It is important that there is no power vacuum, no chaos in the country. There is a need for a joint authority that will end hostilities and begin solving problems before proceeding with the final determination of the future of Afghanistan and the future form of government,” he said.

Despite the fighting, the Taliban have said they are “very serious about talks and dialog” with Kabul.

China urges Taliban to bear responsibility for nation

China, another neighbor of Afghanistan, also called for the Taliban to make a clean break with all terrorist forces and return to the mainstream of Afghan politics.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the remark on Tuesday, describing the Taliban as a major military force in Afghanistan.

Wang said that Beijing expected Afghanistan to resolutely combat all terrorist and extremist ideologies, and be committed to friendly relations with all neighboring countries. He stressed that Afghanistan was an independent and sovereign country and that history showed that any coercive intervention in the country was bound to fail.

Regarding peace talks, Wang called for both the Taliban and Kabul to resume negotiations as soon as possible.

The United States is just weeks away from completing a full withdrawal from Afghanistan. Beijing has previously accused Washington of conducting a hasty and chaotic withdrawal after almost 20 years of war and occupation.

Last week, the US military said it had withdrawn more than 90 percent of its troops and equipment from Afghanistan.

US President Joe Biden, who ordered the final phase of the pullout from Afghanistan, is now seeking domestic US authorization for drone strikes and commando raids in Afghanistan after the withdrawal.

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