Russia “assured” Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Moscow that the country is currently not considering recognizing the Taliban regime, he told The Moscow Times as the Kremlin prepares to host talks on the country this week.
“The Russian Foreign Ministry has assured us that recognition of the Taliban regime is not even on the table, and until such recognition takes place, Russia will work with our embassy,” Ambassador Said Jawad, who was appointed by the former U.S.-backed regime in Kabul and is still officially in post, told The Moscow Times.
The United States, China and Pakistan as well as the Taliban will travel to Moscow to join talks on the Taliban’s future Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Taliban has repeatedly urged Russia to recognize its rule and has hinted it could change its diplomatic staff once the Islamist group has control over the Embassy.
“It is now important that the Afghan Embassy in Moscow and the Russian Embassy in Kabul resume work as usual. After that, we will consider the issue of changing the diplomatic staff. Employees who do not perform their duties properly may be recalled,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahidtold told the Russian state-run TASS news agency last week.
As no nation has so far recognized the Taliban regime and Afghan diplomats across the world have found themselves stuck in limbo, the country’s embassies across the world have become points of resistance against the militant group.
Afghanistan’s Embassy in Moscow continues to fly the country’s old flag and its official website refers to the Taliban as a terrorist organization.
Jawad, who presents himself as a liberal pro-Western politician, is also one of the Taliban’s most vocal critics, describing the group as “savage killers” in the past.
Prior to the fall of the country to the Taliban, Jawad was one of Afghanistan’s most senior diplomats, having previously served as Kabul’s Ambassador to the U.K. and the United States.
While initially appearing to welcome the Taliban’s takeover of the country, describing the new leaders as “normal guys,” Russia has since cooled its rhetoric towards the Islamist group.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has voiced concerns about potential instability the Taliban’s rule could bring to the wider region and the possibility of Islamist militants infiltrating the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, which Moscow views as its strategic allies.
Moscow has also held military exercises in Tajikistan and bolstered hardware at its military base there since the Taliban takeover.
The Taliban is a terrorist organization banned in Russia.