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After Kazakhstan, now Russia to remove Taliban from list of banned terrorist organisations: Report

Russia is set to delist the Taliban as a banned terrorist organization, marking a significant shift three years after the group regained control in Afghanistan, as reported by the state-run RIA Novosti news agency on Monday.

After Kazakhstan, now Russia to remove Taliban from list of banned terrorist organisations: Report snt
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First Published May 27, 2024, 8:38 PM IST

Russia is set to delist the Taliban as a banned terrorist organisation, marking a significant shift three years after the group regained control in Afghanistan, as reported by the state-run RIA Novosti news agency on Monday. Despite facing international sanctions, Moscow has cultivated ties with the Taliban over the years, engaging in numerous rounds of negotiations and enhancing trade relations with Afghanistan.

"Kazakhstan has recently taken the decision, which we are also going to take, to remove them from the list of terrorist organisations," RIA Novosti quoted Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying. 

At the close of 2023, Kazakhstan made the decision to remove the Taliban from its roster of proscribed organisations.

While this action holds potential to enhance diplomatic relations between Russia and Afghanistan, it does not amount to an official acknowledgment of the Taliban-led government or its self-styled "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan."

Following their ascent to power in 2021, succeeding a US-backed administration, the Taliban implemented stringent Islamic laws that severely restrict women's participation in public affairs.

Foreign Minister Lavrov cited Russia's move as a response to acknowledging the prevailing circumstances in Afghanistan.

"They are the real power. We are not indifferent to Afghanistan. And above all our allies in Central Asia are not indifferent," Lavrov said. 

State media reported that Russia extended an invitation to Taliban representatives to attend its prestigious Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum. This event, once pivotal in Russia's economic engagement with the West, has now become a platform where Russia is fostering ties with the Taliban. Despite the history of strained relations, Moscow has been actively building connections with the Taliban for years.

In 2018, the head of US forces in Afghanistan accused Moscow of supplying weapons to the Taliban, an allegation vehemently denied by Russia at the time. Despite this, the Taliban has been designated as a terrorist organisation in Russia since 2003.

Russia's engagement with Afghanistan is complex, rooted in its own historical involvement. During the 1980s, the Soviet Union engaged in a decade-long conflict against guerrilla mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan in support of a Kremlin-backed government.

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