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Taliban enlisting Russian pressure on US to improve its position at negotiating table

Taliban enlisting Russian pressure on US to improve its position at negotiating table

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Moscow [Russia], February 3 (ANI): As the Joe Biden administration is recalibrating the Afghan peace deal and rethinking its exit strategy from the country, Taliban is enlisting Russian pressure on Washington to improve its position at the negotiating table, according to Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
Recognising the shift of the new administration, a Taliban delegation visited Moscow to enlist Russian support, despite US wariness of Moscow's position on the issue. This delegation was headed by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, deputy head of the political office in Doha, MEMRI reported.
This visit by the Taliban delegation is the first since September 2019. During the visit, the Special Presidential Representative for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov held consultations with Taliban delegation on January 28.
Following the consultations, the Russian foreign ministry in a statement said that the Moscow spoke out in favour of launching substantive and constructive intra-Afghan talks to put an end to the civil war and create an effective national government in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the Taliban representatives expressed appreciation for Moscow's efforts towards national reconciliation and Russia's role and potential in helping the Afghan people build a peaceful, independent state.
According to Russian daily Kommersant, as cited by MEMRI, Taliban members could ask Moscow to influence Washington in view that the Afghan peace deal may be reviewed.
On the other hand, if the Americans will stray from the deal, then the Taliban is expected to fight them as they did with the British and Soviets. "The Taliban representatives, speaking to reporters on Friday, only spoke of 'exchanging views on the future of Afghanistan' and receiving support on the issue of lifting UN sanctions from some members of the movement," Taliban leader Stanikzai said, as quoted by MEMRI.
Interestingly, the delegation also expressed a hint of optimism about the future of the deal with the US. "We signed a peace agreement with the American side which was an elected US government. Just because the Biden administration is evaluating the agreement, it doesn't mean that they will nullify it," Abbas Stanikzai said.
Speaking on the Biden administration's stand on the Afghan peace deal, Omar Nessar, director of the Russian Center for the Study of Contemporary Afghanistan, stated that when Washington talks about the assessment of the peace deal, they do not mean the document itself, but some confidential clause to it. "Perhaps the Americans want to get some concessions," said Nessar.
He further said the Taliban expect to put pressure on Washington visit to countries like Russia. "Previous experience has shown that the meetings in Moscow significantly improved the Taliban's position at the negotiating table. It is obvious, that the Americans are very sensitive to Russia's presence in the Afghan issue, even more than to Iran or China's [presence]," said the foreign policy expert, as quoted by MEMRI. (ANI)

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