Russia’s interests coincide with Taliban’s in fighting DAESH

Russia sees joint interests with Taliban militants in fight against DAESH terrorist group, diplomat says

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Taliban militants listen to Mullah Mohammad Rasool Akhund, the newly appointed leader at Bakwah in the western province of Farah on November 3, 2015

Updated Dec 27, 2015

Russia’s interests in Afghanistan ""objectively coincide" with those of Taliban militant group in the fight against the DAESH terrorist group, a senior Russian diplomat said on Wednesday.

"Taliban interests objectively coincide with ours," Zamir Kabulov, head of the department at the Russian Foreign Ministry responsible for Afghanistan and President Vladimir Putin's special representative for the country, told local media.

Russia set up communication channels to exchange information with the Taliban militants as a bulwark against the spread of DAESH in the country, Kabulov said.

"I have said before that we have communication channels with the Taliban to exchange information."

"Both the Taliban of Afghanistan and the Taliban of Pakistan have said that they don't recognise (DAESH leader Abu Bakr) Al-Baghdadi as a caliph, that they don't recognise [DAESH]," he said.

"That is very important," added Kabulov, who held negotiations with Taliban leader Mullah Omar in the mid-1990s when the group seized a Russian transport plane and took seven Russians hostage and held them for a year in Kandahar airport.

Kabulov also stated that Russia is ready to supply arms to Afghanistan but would do this "with caution and on a commercial basis."

Head of the department at the Russian Foreign Ministry responsible for Afghanistan and Russian President Vladimir Putin's special representative for the country Zamir Kabulov

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova backed Kabulov’s statements and said that "It has to do with fighting the [DAESH] group."

Russia listed the Taliban as a terrorist group and it was banned in the country, as well as DAESH. The Taliban is also known for carrying out brutal public executions.

Moscow has considered the Taliban as a threat for more than a decade, especially since Taliban-controlled areas in Afghanistan border the ex-Soviet state Tajikistan, Moscow’s impoverished central Asian ally.

Moscow has stepped up military efforts in Tajikistan, most recently reinforcing its base near Dushanbe with helicopters in October.

On Wednesday, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu met with Tajik Defence Minister Sherali Mirzo and said that the DAESH presence in Afghanistan poses another threat.

"There are grounds for us to say that [DAESH] groups have appeared there, and we have additional challenges added to everything that has been there [already]," Shoigu said.

The 14-year-long war in Afghanistan sparked by the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks has killed more than 3,400 troops from a US-led NATO coalition and heavily damaged the Taliban.

In September, the Taliban seized  thenorthern Afghan city of Kunduz for 15 days - the first time a major city had been captured by the militant group since the US-led occupation began.

TRTWorld and agencies