25 Feb 2019 13:44

Russian envoy for Afghanistan calls for mitigating sanctions on Taliban negotiators

MOSCOW. Feb 25 (Interfax) - It is premature to discuss the complete lifting of sanctions against the Taliban (banned in Russia), but the process of negotiations should be encouraged, for instance, by facilitating travel regulations for the negotiating parties, Zamir Kabulov, Russian Special Presidential Representative for Afghanistan and Director of the Foreign Ministry's Second Asian Department, said.

"If we are serious about assisting the national reconciliation process and if this is not just political rhetoric, reconciliation should be promoted between the Taliban and the rest of Afghanis. They need to meet and talk for that to happen," Kabulov said on the Rossiya 24 (VGTRK) television channel.

The Taliban has a team of negotiators, he said.

"We should facilitate the rules and enable the Taliban negotiators blacklisted by the UN Security Council for historical reasons to visit particular capitals, speak with their Afghan opponents and external players, and explain and clarify their position," Kabulov said, noting that any other line "would be illogical."

"The complete taboo" on the Taliban will not be lifted for now, but "it is necessary to take the first steps," Kabulov said. "Or else the Taliban will lose trust in the international community," he said.