Taliban reached out to Russia, as the peace talks with US were called off last week by President Donald Trump. The insurgent group’s delegation, headed by Mullah Sher Mohammad Stanikzai, arrived Moscow on Friday, just days after the US talks were cancelled. Stanikzai has been representing the group’s negotiating team in Qatar since the talks took off.
As per TASS, Taliban’s Qatar-based spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said that the group, in its first international visit after collapsed talks, came to Russia to consult Zamir Kabulov, President Vladimir Putin’s envoy for Afghanistan.
The Interfax news agency reported that the Afghan militant group came to seek Russia’s help in reviving the peace talks with US. The group had expressed its willingness to resume the dialogue with Washington, failure of which, the group said, would cost more lives to US.
In an interview with state controlled media network, RT, aired on September 13, Stanikzai said that the Taliban was open to resuming talking with US, but at the same time added that in case of no agreement the militant group was prepared to fight US ‘for 100 years’. The insurgent group, which controls the majority of Afghanistan has been struggling for over 18 years to push out US soldiers posted on Afghan soil.
This was second time in the year that Moscow offered a platform to host meetings between the Taliban and prominent Afghan leaders.
The peace meets with the US which was organized at Camp David, the presidential retreat in the state of Maryland. It was withdrawn after the Taliban claimed the responsibility of Kabul blast, last week, which took the lives of 12 people including a US soldier.
Trump accused the Afghan militant group of trying to prove its strength ahead of the Sunday talks. Trump wrote on Twitter,”…an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great soldiers, and 11 other people. I immediately canceled the meeting and called off peace negotiations. What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?”
He added, “If they cannot agree to a ceasefire during these very important peace talks, and would even kill 12 innocent people, then they probably don’t have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway.” AIP reported that the Taliban delegation was even considering visiting China after Moscow, but the decision has not been finalized.