July 20, 2024

MOSCOW: Russia said on Tuesday it had important matters to discuss with Afghan Taliban leaders and was working to remove the Taliban from its list of banned terrorist organizations.

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

“We have to solve pressing problems, 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 in 20 years last month when gunmen stormed a concert hall outside Moscow, killing at least 144 people.

The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility and U.S. officials said they had information that the network’s Afghan affiliate, the Islamic State Khorasan, was responsible.

Russia has said it is also investigating a connection with Ukraine, something Kiev and the United States have strongly denied.

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