MOSCOW: Russia will invite the Taliban to international talks on Afghanistan scheduled for October 20 in Moscow, the Kremlin's envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, said Thursday.
In response to a question from Russian journalists on whether representatives of the hardline group would be invited to negotiations involving China, India, Iran and Pakistan, Kabulov said: "Yes".
The talks will follow a G20 summit on Afghanistan on October 12 that will seek to help the country avoid a humanitarian catastrophe in the wake of the Taliban takeover.
Kabulov was also asked whether Russia would deliver aid to Afghanistan, where the humanitarian crisis is growing worse, a top UN official warned Wednesday. Russia would do, but the details were still being decided, Kabulov said.
"This is being worked out," he told journalists, saying "cargo" was being collected. Moscow has moved to engage with the Taliban but stopped short of recognition of the group, which is banned as a terrorist organisation in Russia.
On Monday, Kabulov said Moscow would not "exclude" revising the UN sanctions regime against the Taliban. "But at this stage we believe it is not expedient to rush," he said. Russia has warned about members of extremist groups exploiting political turmoil in Afghanistan to cross into neighbouring countries as refugees.