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20 days ago

Russia says it is working on removing Taliban from its terrorist list

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov looks on during a visit of CIS heads of state to the Catherine Palace at the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum and Reserve in Saint Petersburg, Russia December 26, 2023.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov looks on during a visit of CIS heads of state to the Catherine Palace at the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum and Reserve in Saint Petersburg, Russia December 26, 2023. Photo : Sputnik/Alexei Danichev/Kremlin via REUTERS/ Files

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Russia said on Tuesday it had important matters to discuss with Afghanistan’s Taliban leaders and was working to remove the Taliban from its list of banned terrorist organisations.

“This is a country that is next to us, and one way or another we communicate with them,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

“We need to resolve pressing issues, this also requires dialogue, so in this regard we communicate with them like practically everyone else - they are the de facto authority in Afghanistan.”

Peskov did not elaborate on the “pressing issues”, but Russia suffered its deadliest attack for 20 years last month when gunmen stormed a concert hall outside Moscow, killing at least 144 people.

Islamic State militants claimed responsbility and US officials said they had intelligence that it was the network’s Afghan branch, Islamic State Khorasan, that was responsible. Russia has said it is also investigating a Ukrainian link, something Kyiv and the United States have strongly rejected.

The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in 2021 after the withdrawal of US-led foreign forces, but have remained until now on a list of organisations that Russia designates as terrorist.

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