Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

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Russia View of the Endgame in Afghanistan

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Sputnik/Kyle Orton’s blog, 23 February 2021

This is the translation by Kyle Orton of the extremely interesting interview with Russia’s special Afghanistan envoy, Zamir Kabulov, conducted with the Tajik service of state-run Russian Sputnik news agency. It includes quotes like this one:

We view the contemporary Taliban as a political and military movement in Afghanistan that is an integral component of Afghan society. (…) We believe it has a pronounced power base in Afghanistan (…) [They] now control three quarters of the territory of Afghanistan, taking advantage of Kabul’s unwillingness to conduct a substantive dialogue. All areas around the capital region are under their control.

… [the] five most influential states [US, Russia, China, Pakistan, India] will gather, we will be able to agree on a collective mechanism, how we can influence both Afghan parties so that they sit down at the negotiating table, start negotiations, and declare a ceasefire at least for the period of the negotiation process. (…) Traditionally, we do not invite both sides to such meetings, although the Kabul administration is offended, asserting that they are the State, the officially recognized government. (…)

The Kabul administration has already done a lot of stupid things: it delayed the start of negotiations in anticipation of a change of administration in Washington, thinking that another administration would behave differently. (…)

The Taliban adhere to the agreement for all intents and purposes flawlessly (…) which cannot be said about the Americans. They repeatedly hit the Taliban under various pretexts.More often than not such airstrikes were carried out at a time when the Taliban were fighting against ISIS [the Islamic State in Khorasan]. By some curiousprocess the airstrikes did not hit the positions of ISIS, but the positions of the Taliban.