Russia to remove Taliban from 'terror' list: Report

Wednesday, 29 May, 2024
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the Taliban 'real power' in Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy: X@mfa_russia)

Moscow: Inviting Afghanistan's Taliban to its biggest annual economic forum in June, Russia has decided to remove them from a list of banned terrorist groups, three years after they returned to power in Afghanistan, state media reported.

According to TASS, calling the Taliban "real power" in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the group's possible removal from Moscow's list of banned organizations reflects "objective reality". Russia had officially designated the Taliban as a terrorist organization in 2003 but ever since the group took control of Afghanistan in August 2021, Russia has been gradually getting closer to the Taliban.

"Kazakhstan has recently decided to remove them from the list of terrorist organizations. We are going to do this, too. The UN Security Council did not declare the Taliban a terrorist organization. There are twelve to fifteen specific persons on the list," Lavrov said in a statement posted on the X handle of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"The main point is that they are the real power. We, like our allies in Central Asia, care about Afghanistan," he added. In addition, Moscow has also invited Taliban representatives to its flagship Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum from June 5-8, which will see top businesses and CEOs from China, India, Africa, and the Middle East.

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