Taliban must deal with terrorism and related issues to become legitimate: Russia

·4-min read

New Delhi, Jul 14 (PTI) Russia on Wednesday said that the Taliban is a 'current reality' in Afghanistan and it must deal with the problem of terrorism and other related issues in order to become legitimate, noting that there was no military solution to the unfolding situation in that country.

Deputy Chief of the Russian mission Roman Babushkin, at a joint media briefing with Ambassador Nikolay Kudashev, also said that India has a huge interest in Afghanistan and it is for New Delhi to decide the extent of its involvement in the conflict-ridden country.

Kudashev said both India and Russia are supportive of the intra-Afghan talks based on commitments of the parties concerned to ensure that the future Afghan government will be inclusive.

'It's critically important to support Afghans in making their country independent, sovereign, united and democratic. After the Western troops started their speedy withdrawal, regional efforts are becoming even more important,' he said.

Babushkin said Afghanistan is going through a critical period and that there could be no military solution to it.

He said both Russia and India are committed to the dialogue process in Afghanistan and actively monitoring the evolving situation in that country.

'Taliban is a current reality in Afghanistan. It is a party in the intra-Afghan talks which we believe should be a solution for normalisation and establishment of an inclusive government that should be involving all major ethnic groups,' he said replying to a volley of questions.

To a question on acts of terror by the Taliban, Babushkin said Russia's position has never changed on the issue and indicated that both Moscow and New Delhi have a clear view of it.

'We are quite committed to tackling the threat of terrorism in Afghanistan. Although both Taliban and al-Qaeda are organisations that are internationally recognised as terrorists and they are prohibited in Russia also. Russian position is consistent when it comes to international terrorism,' he said.

'Taliban is legitimate only when it deals with terrorism in the way that... Let us realise that there is a common approach supported by everyone that Taliban should deal with the problem of terrorism and other related issues in order to become legitimate, in order to (get) delisted, in order to go ahead with the future Afghanistan and creation of the inclusive government,' Babushkin said.

Asked about India's National Security Advisor Ajit Doval pitching for an action plan by the SCO against Pakistan-based terror groups, Babushkin said the bloc functions under the principle of consensus, but added that both Russia and India have similar position in dealing with international terrorism.

Last month in an address at a SCO meet, Doval called for an 'action plan' by the SCO to deal with Pakistan-based terror groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.

Referring to escalating violence in Afghanistan, he said military activities without political process are worrying.

Asked whether India and Russia would consider jointly provide support to strengthen Afghan security forces including by repairing Russian-origin military helicopters in Afghanistan, he did not give a direct reply but did not rule out such support.

The Russian diplomat said India has been involved in active regional diplomacy on Afghanistan and described it as 'very encouraging'.

Babushkin also referred to terms of negotiations under which the US was withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan.

'We all remember that under the mediation of the US, there were steps planned for normalisation and launch of the political process... These aspects are to be implemented by Afghanistan,' he said.

Afghanistan witnessed a series of terror attacks in the last few weeks as the US looked to complete the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan by August-end, ending a nearly two-decade of its military presence in the war-ravaged country.

The volatile situation in Afghanistan has triggered global concerns.

Earlier this month, the Indian embassy asked all Indians visiting, staying and working in Afghanistan to exercise the utmost caution with regard to their security and avoid all types of non-essential travel in view of rising incidents of violence in various parts of the country.

In an advisory, the embassy said the security situation in Afghanistan remains 'dangerous' and that terror groups have carried out a series of complex attacks including targeting civilians, adding Indian nationals additionally face a 'serious threat' of kidnapping.

India has been a major stakeholder in the peace and stability of Afghanistan. It has already invested nearly USD three billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country.

India has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled. PTI MPB RT RT

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