Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed deep concerns over the continuing deterioration in security in Afghanistan, suggesting that the Afghan government and the Taliban must engage in direct peace talks to end the ongoing turmoil.
In a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday, Putin said that Moscow warmly welcomes Iran’s involvement in promoting direct peace and reconciliation talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban insurgents.
"We discussed the situation in Afghanistan, stressing the importance of national reconciliation in that country," Putin said.
"Russia believes that Iran made a fruitful contribution at multilateral talks in Moscow in February by joining the international efforts aimed at the launch of a constructive dialogue between the Afghan government and Taliban militants," Putin added.
Meanwhile, the Afghan government has said that it is waiting to see if Moscow adopts serious measures against countries sponsoring terrorism.
“Our expectations from Russia is to mount new pressure on its new friends in our region to tackle the issue of terror hideouts which is a common threat for Afghanistan, Russia and all countries in the region,” said Khairullah Azad, deputy spokesman for the ministry of foreign affairs (MoFA).
It is believed that Russia’s growing influence in Afghanistan has also sparked major concerns among European countries.
Recently the European Union (EU) envoy to Pakistan expressed concern over the Russian role in Afghanistan and asked China to get involved in the Afghan conflict directly and as a responsible power.
“A greater U.S presence creates more fear for Russia; likewise Russia’s growing relations with Afghanistan creates fear for the U.S. Tensions remain in place in this respect, but it depends on the ability of the Afghan government as to how it reduces its vulnerability among these tensions and it is related to how we manage Afghanistan’s foreign policy track,” said political commentator Abdul Shokor Salangi.
Russia has however confirmed its ties with the Taliban.
But, head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) Masoum Stanekzai has said that Russia’s ties with the Taliban were aimed to combat the influence of Daesh in Afghanistan.