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A Taliban Commission visits Moscow to say their wins don't threaten Russia: What you need to know

Taliban Commission
Picture courtesy: Voice of America

On Thursday, a Taliban commission visited Moscow to offer assurances that their quick gains on the ground in Afghanistan, when the US troops leave the country, do not threaten Russia, its borders or allies in Asia.

Zamir Kabulov, the Kremlin envoy for Afghanistan met with the Taliban delegation

to raise concern about escalation and tensions in Northern Afghanistan. The Russian Foreign ministry said Kabulov urged Taliban to prevent them from spreading beyond Afghanistan's borders. “We received assurances from the Taliban that they wouldn’t violate the borders of Central Asian countries and also their guarantees of security for foreign diplomatic and consular missions in Afghanistan," the ministry said.

Earlier this week, Taliban advances forced hundreds of Afghan soldiers to flee across the border into Tajikistan. Tajikistan in turn called up 20,000 military reservists to strengthen its southern border with Afghanistan.

Russian officials have expressed concern that the Taliban surge could destabilize the ex-Soviet Central Asian countries north of Afghanistan.

In comments carried by the Russian state Tass news agency, Taliban spokesman Mohammad Sohail Shaheen said their commission came to Moscow to “assure that we won’t allow anyone to use the Afghan territory to attack Russia or neighboring countries.” “We have very good relations with Russia,” he was quoted by Tass as saying, adding that the insurgents remain committed to a peaceful political settlement in Afghanistan.

Russia this week expressed readiness to support Central Asian nations that are part of the Moscow-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization.

“We will do everything, including using the capacity of the Russian military base on Tajikistan’s border with Afghanistan, in order to prevent any aggressive moves against our allies,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned Wednesday.

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