Alexander Mantytskiy, the Russian ambassador to Afghanistan, on Thursday confirmed Russia has ties with the Taliban, but said the relationship aimed to ensure the protection of Russia’s political offices in Afghanistan.
He said that the U.S has failed to accomplish its counter-terrorism task in Afghanistan effectively and that Russia is deeply concerned about the expansion of terrorist groups such as Daesh in Afghanistan.
“We have ties with the Taliban to ensure the security of our political offices, consulates and the security of central Asia,” he said.
He declared the Taliban a political faction and urged diplomacy with the group.
“Russia has always said that peace and national reconciliation was a need, so the process must move forward under the leadership and ownership of the Afghans,” he added.
On Wednesday, NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg called on Russia to avoid interfering in Afghanistan’s internal affairs. But Moscow hit out at NATO and said the NATO mission in Afghanistan has failed.
“The important thing is that we all support the Afghan unity government because that’s the best way to support efforts to fight terrorism to stabilize Afghanistan and to support the unity of Afghanistan, and that’s exactly what NATO is doing and NATO’s partners are doing when we support Afghanistan through the Resolute Support Mission.
“And all outside actors should be helping the Afghan government and not interfering in Afghanistan by undermining the Afghan government,” said Stoltenberg.
“Our concern is that Daesh not only threatens Afghanistan, but it is also a potent threat to central Asia, Pakistan, China, Iran, India and even Russia,” said Mantytskiy.
He said ten countries including the U.S, Britain, Germany, Italy, Iran, Pakistan, China and Qatar enjoy ties with the Taliban.