Russia’s multilateral talks, Moscow format of consultations on Afghanistan, started on Wednesday, November 16, with the presence of envoys from various countries but the Taliban.
Sputnik reported that there are 11 countries represented at this meeting, including Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.
At a news conference in Moscow, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said that the discussion will center on the military-political, socioeconomic, and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan as well as coordinating measures to bolster regional security.
Despite taking part in the last Moscow format meeting in October 2021, Russian officials previously announced that the Taliban would not attend the talks.
The Taliban and other Afghan political forces will receive a thorough briefing from the Russian government after the planned meeting in the Russian capital, according to Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister of Russia.
The Taliban Ministry of Foreign Affairs had earlier asserted that the meeting was “incomplete” since Taliban government representatives were not invited to the Moscow format meetings in Afghanistan.
Abdul Qahar Balkhi, a spokesman for the Taliban’s foreign ministry, said on November 5 that the absence of the government from such events may have an “adverse” impact on engagement.
The Taliban, however, participated in the last Moscow consultative format, in October 2021, as the Taliban’s Deputy Prime Minister, Mullah Abdul Salam Hanafi chaired a Taliban delegation to the meeting.
The Moscow consultative format was established in 2016 to foster political reconciliation between the Taliban and the Kabul government. At that time, the Taliban conducted an insurgency against the Afghan National Army forces of the internationally-backed government of Afghanistan.