Russia has quietly invited a group of senior Afghan politicians to talks with the Taliban in Moscow, according to reports.


Russia has quietly invited a group of senior Afghan politicians to talks with the Taliban in Moscow, according to reports.

The invitations, extended over the past two months which six of the eight leaders, who include former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, or their aides, and by other leading politicians with ties to the Afghan government.
The Russian Embassy in Kabul declined to comment.
Russia in August proposed holding multilateral peace talks in Moscow and invited 12 countries and the Taliban to attend a summit the following month. But the meeting was postponed after Ghani rejected the invitation on the grounds that talks with the Taliban should be led by the Afghan government.
Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday that she hoped to be able to announce details of the conference “in the coming days”.
Zakharova told reporters at a briefing that the date and participant list were being finalised, but that Russia wanted to be absolutely sure before announcing anything publicly.

“Karzai will travel to Moscow because any opportunity for peace talks with the Taliban must not be ignored,” said Mohammad Yusof Saha, a spokesman for the former president.
Atta Mohammad Noor, a leader in the Jamiat-i Islami party and former governor of the strategic Balkh province, said he too would attend.
According to Reuters, senior Taliban members in Afghanistan said they would send a delegation to Moscow, as it would give them an opportunity to engage with neighboring countries including China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, who have previously said they would send representatives.

The chief executive officer Abdullah Abdullah had previously said Moscow summit would have no outcome without the participation of Afghanistan.
Mr. Abdullah praised the efforts of other countries for peace in Afghanistan, but insists that the ownership of any peace talks should be in the hands of the Afghan government and nation.


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