Russian foreign minister calls Taliban ‘real power’ in Afghanistan

MOSCOW — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described the Taliban as a “real power” in Afghanistan, suggesting that the possible removal of the group from Russia’s list of terrorist organizations reflects “objective realities.”

Lavrov’s remarks come as Moscow considers delisting the Taliban from its terrorist organization list. However, Russian lawyer Dmitry Agranovsky, cited by the Russian TASS news agency, stated that such a removal would require a ruling from the country’s Supreme Court.

“Russian practice, to my memory, does not know any precedents of removing the status of a terrorist organization, and the law does not provide direct instructions on resolving this issue,” Agranovsky said. He referred to Federal Law 115, “On Combating the Legalization (Laundering) of Proceeds of Crime and the Financing of Terrorism,” which stipulates that the Russian Federal Financial Monitoring Service should remove an organization from the terrorist list if a court rules so.

Agranovsky explained that reversing Moscow’s designation of the Taliban as a terrorist organization would necessitate a new lawsuit. “Given that the Taliban was designated as a terrorist organization following a lawsuit filed by the Prosecutor General’s Office in the Supreme Court, the cancellation of this decision is possible through a new lawsuit filed by the same agency in the same court based on newly discovered circumstances,” Agranovsky stated.

This discussion follows comments by Zamir Kabulov, Russia’s special envoy for Afghanistan, who earlier revealed that the country’s Foreign Ministry and Justice Ministry had advised President Vladimir Putin that the Taliban could be removed from the list of banned organizations.