National News

Qatar mediates as Russia has reservations about Taliban

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 12

Qatar was trying to reduce differences between the Kremlin and the Taliban as Moscow sent more military equipment to Tajikistan, bordering the restive Baghlan province and Panjshir Valley, while its former Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev expressed concern over the presence of thousands of ISIS fighters.

Russia sent to Tajikistan armoured vehicles and other military equipment, said its Defence Ministry Medvedev said tens of thousands of ISIS fighters are located in Afghanistan, including the provinces on the border with Central Asian countries. “The US pulling out of Afghanistan is only heating up the activity of the terrorist organisation which remains an enormous threat to Asia, Africa, Middle East and Europe,” he wrote in an article.

Russia and India appear to be on the same page on the threats posed by radical Islamists to the security of Chechnya and Kashmir, respectively.

India, too, has repeatedly asked the Taliban to make good on its promise to deny safe havens to terrorists targeting other countries.

Qatar Foreign Minister Mohammad bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani met with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow and then reached Kabul for parleys with the Taliban leadership. The aim was to “strength international cooperation for supporting stability in Afghanistan,” tweeted Al-Thani.

Qatar has a huge stake in bringing about recognition for the Taliban as it had midwifed the so-called peace talks that led to the Taliban returning to power.

The absence of recognition from the major world powers is leading to economic and humanitarian crises in Afghanistan. Long lines have formed outside banks which have restricted withdrawals and are refusing dollars to conserve foreign exchange. The UN has warned that 97 per cent of the Afghan population could slide into abject poverty next year.

The west, India and Russia have reservations about Taliban’s treatment of women, the drug trade, accommodating non-Pashtun ethnic groups in the Government and denying safe sanctuary to groups that target other countries. The only group Taliban has spoken about discouraging is the one targeting China while it has been silent on LeT, JeM, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Hizb ut-Tahrir.

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