Russian government plans to delist Taliban as terrorist organization

The Russian government has announced its intention to remove the Taliban from its list of banned terrorist organizations. This decision comes three years after the Taliban regained power in Afghanistan.

According to the state-run IRA Novosti news agency, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated on Monday that Russia would follow Kazakhstan’s lead in delisting the Taliban from its roster of terrorist groups. Lavrov cited
Kazakhstan’s recent decision to remove the Taliban from its list as a factor in Russia’s own decision-making process.

Russia has maintained diplomatic relations with the Taliban for several years, engaging in multiple rounds of talks and increasing trade with Afghanistan despite facing international sanctions.

While this move does not signify an official recognition of the Taliban-led administration or the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” it is expected to bolster diplomatic ties between Russia and Afghanistan.

In 2021, the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan, overthrowing a government that had been supported by the United States.

The Taliban’s rule has been marked by the imposition of strict Islamic law, particularly concerning women’s rights.

Foreign Minister Lavrov explained that Russia’s decision took into account the evolving situation on the ground in Afghanistan, emphasizing the importance of the country to Russia and its allies in Central Asia.

Reports indicate that Russia has even extended an invitation to Taliban representatives to attend the prestigious Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, a significant event in Russia’s trade relations with the West.

Russia’s engagement with the Taliban has a complex history. In 2018, the United States accused Moscow of arming the group, a claim that Russia denied.

Additionally, Russia has designated the Taliban as a terrorist organization since 2003.

Moscow’s involvement in Afghanistan dates back to the 1980s when it waged a decade-long war against mujahideen insurgents in support of a government aligned with the Kremlin.

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