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Russia says Taliban must meet expectations on human rights

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)
Russia’s presidential envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov, left, speaks with a representative of the Taliban before the beginning of talks on Afghanistan in Moscow on October 20, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

Russia’s envoy to Afghanistan says the Taliban must form an inclusive government and live up to international “expectations” on human rights if they want to be recognized by governments around the world.

Zamir Kabulov said Wednesday that the Taliban would be recognized when they “start fulfilling the expectations of the international community on human rights and inclusion.”

Taliban representatives told Kabulov they “are working on improving governance and improving human rights,” he told reporters. “We’ll see.”

He also called on the international community to abandon its “bias” and unite to help the Afghan people. “Not everyone likes the new government in Afghanistan, but by punishing the government, we punish the whole people.”

On Wednesday, Russia hosted talks on Afghanistan involving senior representatives of the Taliban and the neighboring countries. The Russian government invited the Taliban and other Afghan parties for talks, voicing hope they will help encourage discussions and tackle Afghanistan’s challenges.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Kabulov said a joint statement from all the 10 participating countries concluding the talks would call on the United Nations to convene a donor conference to raise funds for Afghanistan.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier opened the talks and emphasized that “forming a really inclusive government fully reflecting the interests of not only all ethnic groups but all political forces of the country” is necessary to achieve a stable peace in Afghanistan.

“Numerous terrorist groups, notably the Daesh and al-Qaida are trying to take advantage of the instability in the country mounting bloody attacks,” Lavrov said in his opening speech at the conference. “There is a real danger of terrorism and drugs spilling into the neighboring nations under the guise of migration.”

Lavrov also commended the Taliban for their efforts to stabilize the military-political situation in Afghanistan and ensure the operation of state structures. At the same time, the Russian foreign minister underlined the importance of respecting human rights and pursuing well-balanced social policies, adding that he discussed those issues with the Taliban delegation before the talks. Lavrov said Russia would soon dispatch a shipment of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and urged the international community to quickly mobilize resources to prevent a humanitarian crisis in the country.

Last week, President Vladimir Putin of Russia noted that there must be no rush in officially recognizing the Taliban as the new rulers of Afghanistan, but emphasized the need to engage in talks with them. 

The Taliban took power in Afghanistan in mid-August, as the US was in the middle of a chaotic troop withdrawal from the country. The group announced the formation of a caretaker government on September 7.

The Taliban first ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, when the United States invaded the country and toppled the Taliban-run government on the pretext of fighting terrorism following the September 11 attacks in the US.

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