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Will The Taliban Be A Party To The Negotiations On Afghanistan's Future?

Monday, March 6, 2017 - 01:34

In late 2016, the media reported that Moscow had contacts with the Taliban. Special Representative of the President of Russia on Afghanistan Z. Kabulov confirmed that the Russian side had contacts with the Taliban. As the main arguments in favor of such a position of Moscow, Z. Kabulov named the fact that the Taliban is fighting against the same insurgents in Afghanistan whom Russian is bombing in Syria. Secondly, the Taliban has rejected the idea of ​​global jihad. Thirdly, their primary goal is to save the country from the occupation and establish an independent government.


As the official reason for establishing contacts with the Taliban, Moscow named the desire to ensure the safety of Russian diplomatic missions and Russian citizens in Afghanistan, to achieve a universal truce, and to end the war. Of course, such a statement of Russian President's special representative in Afghanistan Z. Kabulov about the contacts with the Taliban provoked a harsh reaction in Kabul. Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Chakib Mustagni said, “Any attempt to establish relationships and support groups that commit terrorist acts against the people of Afghanistan will in the long term become a danger for the whole region, and no country will remain safe, all of them will be harmed.”


The information about the fact that Moscow has established contacts with the Taliban has already been published, primarily by the Western media. Thus, British The Sunday Times wrote in December 2015 that President of Russia Vladimir Putin held a secret meeting with leader of the Taliban Mullah Akhtar Mansoor. The meeting allegedly took place on the territory of the 201st Russian military base in Tajikistan. However, the Kremlin immediately denied this report.


From sources close to the Taliban, we have learned that the meeting of representatives of the Taliban and Russia did take place in Tajikistan in 2015. Moreover, the participants in the talks with the Russians allegedly did not have the approval of their superiors to conduct such negotiations with the representatives of Moscow. Our source says the leadership of the Taliban had a big showdown as a result, and it is even said that all those involved in the negotiations with the Russians were eliminated in December of the same year by a decision of the movement's leadership.


Today, the Western media, and especially the US, attempt to “hang all the dogs” on Russia, accusing it of secret connections with the Taliban. At the beginning of 2016, a representative of the US intelligence informed the agency Associated Press that “The Russians have provided the Taliban with arms and the money, so that they resisted to the 'Islamic State', which is prohibited in Russia. So, the newest Kalashnikovs fell in the hands of Taliban members. They are produced only in Russia, along with the Kalashnikov machine guns and anti-tank grenade launchers.”


We will not argue with a representative of the US intelligence who certainly knows that Kalashnikovs are produced today not only in Russia. And the fact that the Taliban has new AK guns is not quite necessarily an indication that they were received from the Russian plants. Worth recalling, in due time the Americans bought the Soviet-built military arsenals from all over Eastern Europe for a penny, and then resold all weapons to be sent to Afghanistan.


But we have digressed from the main theme: the talks with the Taliban. In fact, all the neighboring countries and the United States are trying to conduct the negotiations with the Taliban about the future of the country. We must mention that at the time of the US and NATO's international anti-terrorism campaign in Afghanistan, the soldiers of a number of Western countries often paid the Taliban to avoid being harmed. This circumstance explains the fact that the losses of personnel in Italian and German troops are not very great. Afghanistan's leadership even accused the Italian military of conspiring with the Taliban and regularly paying them money, thus buying the chance to return home alive.


To understand the essence of the Taliban (or the Pashtuns, to put it simple) who have been trying for several centuries to live their own life, let us consider the statements of the associate researcher at the Institute for International and Strategic Studies Karim Pakzad that were published in the article “NATO bribes in Afghanistan?” on Thus, the Afghan expert says that the NATO mission in Afghanistan perpetrated by the Americans has failed. According to Karim, “Of course, the primary target for NATO – the Taliban – were quickly driven out of Kabul; however, they have not disappeared. Today, they are even stronger than before. The most powerful army in the world has suffered a defeat, because the Americans had to initiate negotiations when they returned to power...”


Our source, who was previously in a close relationship with the leadership of the Taliban, informs that Americans have not actually achieved the desired results in the war in Afghanistan. Almost all of those Taliban leaders who were captured by the NATO forces and placed in Guantanamo have returned home. In particular, it has become possible as a result of the negotiations between the US military and the Taliban.


The situation in Afghanistan is given a certain share of intrigue by the fact that today the Taliban has a different relationship with Iran. We may recall that the famous warlord H. Gulbeddin, who proved himself back in the 1980s, lived in Iran for a while when the Taliban came to power in the country and he failed to find a common language with them. In June 2015, Wall Street Journal (WSJ) wrote that the Afghan Taliban, having previously used Pakistan as their headquarters and base for recruitment, has found an “important ally” in Iran – namely the elite Revolutionary Guards. There are media reports that the weapons for the Taliban were delivered to Afghanistan from Iran, and that Tehran formally invited the delegation of the Taliban for negotiations. There have also been reports that the Afghan authorities have evidence of the fact that Iran was training Taliban fighters in its territory.


Neighboring China never stayed away from the important events in Afghanistan. It is known that during the war between the 40th Army and the Mujahideen, Beijing secretly helped them, and not only by supplying weapons. China traditionally supported the commitment of Afghanistan to get rid of any outside interference. In summer 2016, Reuters reported that representatives of the Taliban visited China in accordance with the official invitation. In fact, there was nothing unusual in this report. China is in the intermediary group of countries (Afghanistan, the US, Pakistan, China) that contribute to the organization of the negotiations between the Taliban and the country's government. Unfortunately, after the elimination of former Taliban leader Akhtar Mansoor by a US drone, the efforts of this group of countries were practically negated.


Beijing's interest in the topic of Afghanistan is clear. China is rightly believes that the situation in Afghanistan has a negative impact on the situation in Xinjiang, and so China tries to protect itself from potential problems “on distant approaches.”


In Afghanistan, the current situation is as follows: the Taliban de facto remains the real power in the vast majority of the provinces. The CSTO is ready today to reflect the possible infiltration of the Taliban militants beyond the Panj River. In Tajikistan, some experts say in this regard that there is a real danger emanating from Afghanistan. However, there are those who hold a different opinion. Thus, chairperson of the Association of Political Scientists of Tajikistan A. Mamadazimova notes that there does not occur the annually expected breakthrough of the Taliban in the north because “no one takes into account the ideological essence of the Taliban. The thing is, the Taliban is armed with the ideology of “emirate” (the green flag), which predetermines its sovereign character of actions in the framework of one state. The regular violations of the Pakistani-Afghan border is not taken into account, as – being Pashtuns – they do not recognize this border.”


In our opinion, more real is the threat from the IMU militants, which last year relocated from Waziristan to northern Afghanistan, closer to the borders of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The Taliban's negative role will be that they will help the IMU militants only because the latter are brothers in faith, and not because they have any views on the states of the Commonwealth.


So, the year 2017 can be described as a new stage in the history of Afghanistan, when the Taliban is finally recognized as a possible party to the talks on bringing peace to this country. In the Taliban's position, the new aspect is their willingness to negotiate with the Afghan government, with the assistance of foreign intermediaries, including Russia. The Taliban says that Russia may play a positive role in this case.


In fairness, it should be noted: what has been said about the Taliban's willingness to negotiate, and the intention of some countries to recognize them as a party to the negotiations – this all is by no means an indication that these conditions are sufficient to achieve peace in the long-suffering Afghanistan. Chances are high that all efforts of the intermediaries will be in vain, and the Taliban will again, for whatever reasons, will prove unable to negotiate. That is why, all countries of the region should study the question of creating their own regional institution – an instrument or mechanism to ensure the possibility of collective discussion and construction of a new regional security architecture. Astana's initiative to resolve the Syrian conflict once again proves that the countries of the region need their own security organization, which will be the platform for discussing all the regional problems that prevent these countries from living in peace and harmony. The key aspect of the future organization – which, for example, could be called the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Asia (OBSA) – is the absence of Western countries. The OBSA might actually become an effective regional mechanism, which will find the solutions to the problems around the Durand Line, Kashmir and many others that hinder the establishment of good neighborly relations, for example, between China and India. The fate of Afghanistan could be the main and the first question on the agenda of the OBSA. Peacefulness of our region largely depends on the solution to this problem.

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