Afghanistan’s Taliban will negotiate with the central government in Kabul only after the United States agrees to leave the country, according to a senior Russian diplomat.
Zamir Kabulov, Russia’s special envoy for Afghanistan, announced the Taliban’s demands on Monday after hosting an international summit on the country’s crisis that was attended by other members of a security bloc led by Russia and China. The Taliban want the United States to undertake a number of “confidence-building measures,” starting with a deadline for a full withdrawal from the country.
“[They] said they will be ready to speak with the Afghan government only after fixing a timetable for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan with the U.S.,” Kabulov said, per TASS, a state-run outlet. “As confidence-building measures under a preliminary plan, the Taliban demand that all political prisoners be freed and anti-Taliban sanctions, which were imposed back in 1997, be lifted.”