Taliban claims to have been invited to Moscow format meeting

The Taliban has claimed that the Russian ambassador to Kabul extended an invitation to them to participate in the next Moscow format meeting on Afghanistan.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the country’s embassy in Afghanistan have not yet commented on the matter. But the continuous holding of the Moscow format meeting, coupled with the Taliban’s disregard for its decisions, has raised concerns.

Atta Mohammad Noor, a political figure, has criticized certain regional countries for working with the Taliban – countries that are largely anti-United States and the West. According to Noor, these countries are making a mistake in dealing with the Taliban.

In a recent interview with Al-Arabiya TV, Noor said these countries working with the Taliban were doing it to serve their own interests.

“These countries have erred in their military and political policy and doctrine in Afghanistan and the region. They welcomed this issue not because it serves their interests, but to undermine America and make it fail,” Noor said.

During a meeting between the acting foreign minister of the Taliban and the Russian ambassador to Afghanistan, the Taliban claimed to have received an invitation to the Moscow forum.

Taliban’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted that the Russian ambassador had invited Amir Khan Mutaqqi to attend the Moscow format meeting. However, the Russian embassy in Afghanistan has not yet responded.

Jawed Momand, a university lecturer, stated: “They think that their rivals, especially America and the West, want to destabilize Russia’s borders through Afghanistan, and the Taliban wants to resolve the Afghan crisis in coordination with Central Asia and South Asia.”

The Moscow format meeting, first held in 2017 in Moscow, Russia, focuses on Afghanistan. The meeting has been convened continuously with the participation of regional representatives and, in some cases, representatives from other countries. However, according to some Taliban experts, the group has paid little attention to the decisions made in these meetings, leading to suggestions that the Taliban representatives should be directly involved.

“The upcoming Moscow meeting, like its predecessors, will be of great concern to regional countries regarding the presence and activities of terrorist groups in Afghanistan, and this will be communicated to the Taliban representative,” said Ali Reza Mahmoudi, a political affairs analyst.

To date, the Moscow format meeting has been held four times. The third and fourth rounds took place during the Taliban’s rule over Afghanistan. In these recent meetings, participants consistently emphasized the need for the establishment of an inclusive government and the protection of human rights, especially women’s rights in Afghanistan. However, these demands have yet to be fully implemented.

Nasrin Hamidi, a women’s rights activist, stressed the importance of taking the travel restrictions imposed on Taliban officials seriously and that countries refrain from providing them with international platforms.

“Such measures could compel the Taliban to comply with global demands and alleviate strict restrictions against women,” she argued.

Neither the Russian government nor the Taliban has provided any details regarding the timing and format of the fifth round of the Moscow format meeting.