Russia is trying to re-expand its influence in the region around Afghanistan. On Wednesday, the Kremlin invited the Taliban government as well as representatives from China, Iran, India and several Asian states that were part of the former Soviet Union to Moscow. The US did not travel to the meeting for technical reasons, but plans to attend future conferences. And that despite the fact that the Taliban Interior Minister honored and thanked the families of Afghan suicide bombers who killed US soldiers. The Taliban’s head of delegation, Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Salam Hanafi, said at the Afghanistan conference that his government was ready to “discuss all concerns of the international community with all clarity, transparency and openness”. An international isolation of Afghanistan is, however, “in nobody’s interest”.
Hanafi appealed to the international community to support the Taliban government financially. “We don’t need foreign military aid, we need support for peace in Afghanistan, we need reconstruction and resettlement,” he said.
The Taliban conquered large parts of the country as early as the spring of 2021, and on August 15 they entered the capital Kabul without a fight, where they have ruled since then. There are daily attacks on civilians, women are de facto imprisoned at home, are not allowed to attend educational institutions, dissidents or homosexuals are publicly executed. The Taliban government, which is made up entirely of men, few of whom have any academic qualifications, is confronted with numerous problems. According to the UN, a serious humanitarian crisis is looming and the economy is on the verge of collapse. A drought in the country and the upcoming winter with rising prices are further exacerbating the situation.
Russia is satisfied with the cooperation of the Afghan authorities in protecting Russians, said the Foreign Minister. The recognition of the new government in Kabul, however, depends on the implementation of its promises, such as the involvement of political groups and different ethnic groups. The government in Moscow fears a destabilization of Central Asia, for example through new refugee movements or attacks by Islamists from Afghanistan. Call on the Taliban movement to prevent Afghanistan from being used as a base for attacks on other countries, Lavrov said. The Taliban delegation has not yet issued a statement on this.
The German Chancellor Merkel also promised the Islamist regime 600 million euros in support. This should start a vaccination campaign, fight terrorism and rebuild the airport.