Russia has admitted that it maintains "limited contacts" with the Taliban in Afghanistan, but rejects claims it provides support to the militant group.
“Russia has been accused of supplying them [Taliban] with weapons, financing their activities and even assisting them in setting up militant training camps on Afghanistan’s territory. Needless to say, no evidence to back up these accusations has been provided,” Russan Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday, TASS news agency reported.
“Attempts to make Afghan society and the global community believe that Russia has been disrupting international counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan, seem to be part of a staged campaign aimed at discrediting our country,” according to the statement.
Earlier, the commander of international forces in Afghanistan, said that Russia is working to legitimize and support the Taliban. Security sources in troubled Kunduz also told 1TV that Russia is providing cash and military support to militant group in the northern Afghan province.
Moscow claimed that some Afghan and foreign forces, “not interested in stabilizing the situation in the country, are behind these attempts.”
According to the statement from Moscow, by maintaining limited contacts with the Taliban, “”Russia seeks to persuade them to join the process of national reconciliation led by the Kabul government, which is based on three principles, including the recognition of the Afghan constitution, disarmament and cutting ties with the ISIL and Al-Qaeda terror groups as well as other terrorist organizations.”
Russia hosted last round of regional talks on Afghanistan in Moscow last month with Afghan representative invited for the first time.
U.S. have so far been excluded from the talks, however, Moscow has hinted that it will involve it in future.
“At its next stage we think it will be important to, in a timely fashion, involve in that same process our Central Asian partners as well as the United States,” said Vladimir Safronkov, the Russian deputy minister to U.N., while addressing U.N. Security Council meeting on Friday.
The remarks came on the day when Russian Foreign Ministry announced that Afghan National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar would visit Moscow to meet with Russian Foreign Miniser Sergey Lavrov on March 17.
“The officials will discuss the security situation and prospects for promoting national reconciliation in Afghanistan, as well as ways to develop multilateral cooperation within the Moscow format of regional consultations on Afghanistan,” Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for Russian Foreign Ministry said.