MOSCOW: Russia's foreign minister said on Tuesday the Taliban have accepted an invitation to attend talks on Afghanistan in Moscow.
Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday that Russia has invited the Taliban to the Sept. 4 talks and received a positive response, voicing hope for “productive” negotiations, AP reported.
Lavrov reaffirmed that Russia's contacts with the Taliban aimed to ensure the safety of Russian citizens in Afghanistan and encourage the Taliban to abandon hostilities and engage in a dialogue with the government.
Foreign Ministry official Zamir Kabulov was cited by Interfax on Monday as saying Moscow had invited the Taliban, which is banned in Russia and considered a terrorist organisation.
Many of the Taliban's leadership were former Mujahideen fighters who battled the Soviet Union after its invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 until a humiliating
Russia's Foreign Ministry also strongly rejected the claim by Afghan Ambassador to Moscow, Abdul Qayyum Kochai, who said that Russia hopes to use the Taliban to combat the Daesh.
It hailed the Afghan government's offer of a holiday cease-fire, adding that the Taliban's apparent rejection of it is regrettable.
Abdul Kayum Kuchai, Afghanistan's ambassador in Moscow, welcomed the Taliban's involvement in the talks, the RIA news agency reported.
Russia conducted international talks on Afghanistan in April last year, but the United States did not attend.
In Kabul on Tuesday, an hours-long attack came to an ened when two militants were killed in a clearance operation, the military said.