An agreement between Russia and the United States on Afghanistan will be hard to achieve but it may put an end to the long-running armed conflict in the Asian country, Delawar Aimaq, a member of the security commission of the Afghan National Assembly, told Sputnik on Thursday.
On Tuesday, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia said that Moscow expected Washington to take part in the new consultations on the situation in Afghanistan. Taliban representatives would partake in the Moscow format meeting as well, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
“It will be very hard to achieve this, however, if the United States and Russia reach an agreement, peace will come to Afghanistan,” Aimaq said.
He also said that Washington was not interested in putting an end to the conflict in Afghanistan because it would no longer have a reason to maintain a presence in the country.
“The Americans will never allow that, they always need a war in order to maintain a presence in our country. Their plan is, while remaining in Afghanistan, to spread their influence on other countries in Central Asia and extend the area of their operations,” Aimaq added.
The lawmaker also stressed that Kabul had no evidence proving Moscow’s alleged aid to the Taliban movement.
“That is what local residents have been saying, some claim to have witnessed it. However, the Afghan authorities have no proof [of Russia supporting the Taliban movement],” he said.
Washington has repeatedly accused Moscow of supplying weapons to the Taliban movement, while the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that such accusations were groundless and insisted that Russia was contacting the movement solely in an effort to encourage the settlement of the conflict and ensure the safety of Russian citizens in Afghanistan.
The Taliban movement has been one of the major forces fighting Kabul for control over the country. The movement managed to seize power in 1996 but was overthrown five years later by the United States, who deployed its troops in Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks to fight Al Qaeda terrorist organization (banned in Russia).
Most of the US troops left Afghanistan by the end of 2014, however, Washington maintains part of its troops in the country under an agreement with the United Nations.
Use UN sanctions mechanisms to fight IS
Russia intends to more actively use the anti-terrorism sanctions mechanisms of the UN Security Council to combat the Islamic State (IS, ISIL, banned in Russia) terrorist group in Afghanistan, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing Thursday.
“Taking into account ISIL’s growing expansion in Afghanistan and, as a result, the creation of hotbeds of tension throughout the country, including directly at the borders of our Central Asian partners, we intend to use more actively the anti-terrorism sanctions mechanisms of the UN Security Council to counter ISIL militants in Afghanistan,” Zakharova said.
She said Russia is preparing requests to the UN Security Council’s sanctions committee to put specific individuals and organizations from the Afghan wing of the IS on sanctions lists.
Absence of serious disagreements between Kabul, Moscow
There are no fundamental disagreements in bilateral relations between Russia and Afghanistan, Mohammed Ibrahim Tamil, deputy presidential special envoy for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), told Sputnik, welcoming Russia’s efforts to resolve the conflict in Afghanistan.
“I do not think that there are disagreements, which could not be resolved … There are technical nuances, which could be resolved quickly at the negotiating table,” Tamil said.
The diplomat stressed that Kabul welcomed the efforts of the Russian authorities to end the conflict and establish peace in Afghanistan, referring to the consultations initiated by Moscow.
“We continue to support this process but we think that [these consultations] should be led by the Afghans themselves as it is the inter-Afghan problem. We not only support this process but are also grateful for any efforts made by other countries, especially Russia,” Tamil underlined.
Russia attempted to arrange a meeting on Afghanistan in early September but decided to postpone the talks on request of Kabul.
The Russian Foreign Ministry’s team headed by Director of the Second Asian Department Zamir Kabulov is expected to meet with the Afghan delegation later on Thursday to discuss the details of the Moscow-format talks.
India arrests IS suspect
The Indian National Investigation Agency has arrested Nashidul Hamzafar, suspected of plans to join the Islamic State terrorist group (IS, outlawed in Russia), after deporting him from Afghanistan, a source in the Indian Home Affairs Ministry confirmed to Sputnik.
Hamzafar, originally from Wayanad district in the southern Indian state of Kerala, was caught by the Afghan security agencies last year for illegally entering the country to join IS.
Afghanistan has long been suffering from an unstable political, social and security situation due to simmering Taliban insurgency as well as the activities of IS and other terror groups.