Russian ministries propose removing Taliban from terrorist list, envoy says

MOSCOW — The Russian ministries of foreign affairs and justice have proposed to President Vladimir Putin that the Taliban be removed from the country’s list of terrorist organizations, Zamir Kabulov, Russia’s special envoy for Afghanistan, said on Monday.

Kabulov, speaking to the state news agency TASS, asserted that the Taliban has made significant strides toward being recognized since it seized power in Afghanistan in 2021. He noted that the proposal to delist the Taliban has the support of several Russian governmental bodies.

When asked about the Foreign Ministry’s stance on the issue, Kabulov described it as “positive.”

He emphasized the necessity of removing the Taliban from the list of banned organizations before considering formal recognition. “Without this, it will be premature to talk about recognition,” he told TASS. “Therefore, work on this issue continues. All considerations have been reported to the top leadership of Russia. We are waiting for a decision.”

However, Kabulov acknowledged that several hurdles remain before the Taliban can be delisted. He expressed confidence that once these obstacles are addressed, the Russian leadership will make a final decision.

Despite the ongoing deliberations, Kabulov noted that Moscow has no plans to hold events or exchange congratulatory messages with the Taliban government to mark the 105th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and Afghanistan. “For a purely formal reason: the lack of official recognition,” he explained, as quoted by TASS.

Russia maintains a pragmatic relationship with the Taliban, having accepted a Taliban diplomat at the level of chargé d’affaires. The Russian embassy in Kabul has also remained operational following the collapse of the previous Afghan government. Nonetheless, no country has yet officially recognized the Taliban.