Russia to Remove Taliban from its Banned Terrorist Organizations List

Tue May 28 2024
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MOSCOW: Russia will remove the Taliban from its list of banned terrorist organizations three years after they returned to power in Afghanistan, state news agency RIA Novosti reported on Monday.

Moscow has maintained relations with the Taliban for years, holding several rounds of talks and promoting trade with Afghanistan despite international sanctions.

“Kazakhstan recently made a decision, which we will also make, to remove them from the list of terrorist organizations,” RIA Novosti quoted Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as saying.

Kazakhstan removed the Taliban from the list of banned organizations last year.

This move could further strengthen the diplomacy between Russia and Afghanistan, but would fall short of official recognition of the Taliban government.

The Taliban took power in 2021 from the US-backed government. They enforced an extreme form of Islamic law that effectively bans women from public life.

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Lavrov said Russia’s decision was about recognizing the reality on the ground.

“They are a real power. Afghanistan is not indifferent to us. And above all, our allies in Central Asia are not indifferent,” Lavrov said.

Russia also invited Taliban representatives to its flagship St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, according to state media.

This event was once considered the cornerstone of Russia’s economic relations with the West.

Russia has maintained relations with the Taliban for years.

The head of US forces in Afghanistan claimed in 2018 that Moscow was supplying the group with weapons, a charge Moscow denied at the time.

The Taliban were designated a terrorist organization in Russia in 2003.

Moscow itself has a complicated history with Afghanistan, as the Soviet Union waged a decade-long war against the guerrilla mujahideen in the 1980s to prop up the Kremlin-backed government.

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