Russia’s Presidential Envoy on Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov met the Pakistani Foreign Minister and Foreign Secretary on January 29 to discuss the Afghan peace process. The Pakistani FM proudly told him (as per a Pakistani press release) that Pakistan is facilitating the ongoing talks between the US and the Taliban, which he hoped will lead to an intra-Afghan dialogue for peace. Kabulov, in turn, is reported to have appreciated Pakistan’s role as a facilitator in the Afghan peace process.
Meanwhile, there are media reports that Russia will host a meeting of the Taliban with leading Afghan political figures from the opposition (including former President Karzai and Presidential hopeful Haneef Atmar) on February 5. The Taliban is reported to have confirmed its attendance. A Russian official is reported to have explained that at this sensitive stage, it was best to not have Afghan government officials at the table. Another official was quoted to have clarified that this is an initiative of the Afghan community in Russia and not that of the government. If the meeting actually takes place with the advertised attendance, there is no question that the Russian government would be fully involved in it.
January 30, 2019