Russia Hosts International Talks on Afghanistan with Taliban
The Taliban attend their most significant meeting since coming to power: Russia-hosted talks on Afghanistan.
Russia is hosting Wednesday international talks on Afghanistan, and a Taliban delegation will attend the meeting aiming to focus on the security situation and the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan.
The Moscow format talks will draw officials from 10 countries, including China and Pakistan, and they are one of the Taliban's most significant since coming to power in Afghanistan in August.
These talks come after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned last week that ISIS fighters were gathering in Afghanistan to spread discord in former soviet republics flanking Russia.
The Taliban's delegation is headed by Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Salam Hanafi, a senior figure in the new Afghan leadership. He also led talks with the EU and the US last week. Those talks came after the Taliban held talks with Turkish officials in Ankara.
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced Tuesday that the goal behind the Moscow talks was to enhance the efforts of the international community to prevent a humanitarian crisis.
President Vladimir Putin and other senior Russian officials have been vocal about their concerns over Afghanistan after the Taliban assumed power and foreign forces withdrew after a 20-year invasion.
Putin had warned last week that nearly 2,000 ISIS militants had flocked toward northern Afghanistan, noting that the terrorists' leaders were aiming to send them to central Asian counties as refugees.
ISIS in Afghanistan aims to expand its influence in the former Soviet republics in Central Asia, Putin warned. Moscow sees Central Asia as its backyard, and ISIS aims to stir up religious and racial strife in the region.