Taliban delegation welcomed in Moscow as US abandons peace talks

Afghan alleged former Taliban fighters carry their weapons before handing them over as part of a government peace and reconciliation process at a ceremony in Jalalabad on February 24, 2016. More than a dozen former Taliban fighters from Nazyan district of Nangarhar province handed over their weapons as part of a peace reconciliation program. AFP PHOTO / Noorullah Shirzada / AFP / Noorullah Shirzada (Photo credit should read NOORULLAH SHIRZADA/AFP/Getty Images)
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MOSCOW – The head of the Asian department of the Russian Foreign Ministry and representative of the Russian President in Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, received a delegation from the Taliban in Moscow.

Russia’s foreign ministry stressed in a statement the need to resume talks between the US and Taliban.

“The special representative of the Russian Presidency in Afghanistan, director of the Second Asian Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Zamir Kabulov, welcomed the Taliban delegation in Moscow,” the ministry said.

“The Russian side emphasized the need to resume negotiations between the United States and the Taliban. The Taliban, in turn, reaffirmed its willingness to continue dialogue with Washington,” it said.

In recent months, the Taliban movement and the United States have negotiated a peace agreement, which should guarantee the withdrawal of foreign troops in exchange for the guarantee that the movement would sever ties with terrorist organizations. Negotiations, however, excluded the Afghan government.

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In recent weeks, the movement has carried out several terrorist attacks, undermining the peace process.

Explosions were reported to have occurred in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul near the US Embassy shortly after midnight on September 11. A cloud of smoke rose over Kabul shortly after midnight and the sirens could be heard.

It was the first major attack on the Afghan capital since President Donald Trump abruptly halted talks between the US and Taliban.

The Taliban took over another district in Afghanistan, the second in two weeks, saying the US will “regret” the abandonment of key peace talks that were interrupted after President Donald Trump canceled a long-awaited meeting with the group.

Yangi Qala, a district of northern Afghanistan’s Takhar province, fell into the hands of Taliban fighters on Tuesday after government troops retreated in fear of further casualties, local authorities told the press. They sent reinforcements to expel the Taliban from the area, claiming that dozens of militants were killed.

But the seizure of the district, which is close to the border of Russia’s military ally, Tajikistan, comes days after the Taliban made another advance by capturing the Anar Darah neighborhood in western Afghanistan.

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