Taliban delegation attends Russia’s annual economic forum in St. Petersburg

A Taliban delegation attended the opening day of Russia’s largest annual economic forum in St. Petersburg on Wednesday.

Since the Taliban seized power in August 2021, Russia has been gradually building ties with the group, despite the Taliban still being officially outlawed in Russia.

Zamir Kabulov, director of the Second Asia Department at the Russian Foreign Ministry, told state news agency TASS last month that Russia’s foreign and justice ministries have reported to President Vladimir Putin on the issue of removing the ban.

The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), which once attracted Western CEOs and investment bankers from London and New York, has undergone significant changes amid the Ukraine war. The conflict has triggered the most severe crisis in Russia’s relations with the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Western investors seeking a slice of Russia’s vast resource wealth have now been replaced by businesses from China, India, Africa, and the Middle East.