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Published On: Sun, Mar 19th, 2017

Russia Claims Contacts With Taliban Aimed at Promoting Peace in Afghanistan

nsnbc : Afghan national security adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar stated that Russian security adviser Nikolai Patrushev said that recent Russian contacts with the Taliban were aimed at encouraging the organization and its leaders to participate in Afghan-led peace talks.

Mohammad Hamid Atmar_Afghanistan_2016_(archives)The office of Afghanistan’s national security adviser Mahammad Hanif Atmar said he discussed the contacts with Nikolai Patrushev and that the two sides discussed Moscow’s support to Afghanistan in detail.

Both sides also shared concerns regarding the growing drug production and smuggling and agreed to enhance cooperation in countering threats posed by the illicit drugs to the region.

It is worth noting that substituting opium poppy cultivation with other agriculture and crack downs against drug lords, and the organized sexual abuse of bacha bazi boys belonged to the drivers that motivated many otherwise moderates, even seculars to initially support the Taliban’s discourse. Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan skyrocketed again after the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.

Atmar described Russia as “a close regional ally” and noted that the Afghan government will continue to need Moscow’s support in fighting terrorism, ensuring peace and stability, the fight against drugs, and to support the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.

The meeting between Atmar and Patrushev and Atmar’s subsequent statement comes as reports emerged recently, suggesting the growing contacts between the Taliban and the regional countries were causing concerns among Afghan officials. Earlier in March senior Taliban leaders from the Taliban headquarter in Doha, Qatar, visited China, also for talks about regional security issues and possible peace talks.

The commander of the US forces in Afghanistan and the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission commander General John Nicholson also expressed concerns last month regarding the growing interference by the regional countries in Afghanistan, including Pakistan, Iran and Russia. Objectively speaking, Nicolson’s concerns were in part substantiated by the alleged discovery of Iranian rockets and munitions among Taliban insurgents.

CH/L – nsnbc 19.03.2017

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