Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar will engage with high-level Russian officials in Moscow today as part of a three-day visit.
The visit, organised at the invitation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, comes in the wake of controversial comments made by Russian envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov regarding the Afghan peace process. Kabulov, claiming the Afghan government is delaying the peace process in bad faith, called for an inclusive transitional coalition government to be formed between Kabul and the Taliban. Atmar has vehemently pushed back against the Russian envoy’s statements, highlighting the Taliban’s inability or unwillingness to advance negotiations.
Expect Atmar to urge Lavrov and Russian officials to denounce Kabulov’s statements concerning the establishment of a transitional government in today’s meetings. Still, as US President Joe Biden now looks to revise the Trump-era US-Taliban peace deal and reconsider troop withdrawal, Russian support for a power-sharing agreement is unlikely to abate. Without a US presence in South and Central Asia, Moscow would be able to build stronger intelligence networks and military partnerships, further solidifying its regional influence. Therefore, expect Lavrov and Russian officials to highlight the need for more cooperation in combatting terrorism and to sweep Kabulov’s comments under the rug.
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Bilal is the Director of Training and Development. He holds a master’s degree in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University where he extensively researched the US war in Afghanistan. Previously, Bilal has worked independently throughout mainland China as a teacher and as a domestic political communications fellow with Murmuration.