Russia plans to remove Taliban from banned organizations list

Taliban members at a meeting with Russian officials in Moscow, March 2023
Taliban members at a meeting with Russian officials in Moscow, March 2023

In a move signaling a potential shift in policy, the Russian Foreign and Justice Ministries have proposed removing Afghanistan's Taliban from the country's list of banned organizations, the Russian state agency TASS reported on May 26.

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Zamir Kabulov, director of the Foreign Ministry's Second Asian Department, stated the proposal has been presented to Russian leader Vladimir Putin and received a "positive" response. "This is a must. Without it, it will be premature to talk about recognition," Kabulov explained, indicating that official recognition of the Taliban government could be imminent. "Moscow's recognition of the Taliban is much closer now than when they first came to power in 2021," he added.

The initiative follows reports from early April by Gazeta.ru, revealing that Foreign Ministry officials had been working on the proposal since the Taliban's resurgence in Afghanistan.

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Designated as a terrorist organization in Russia in 2003, in line with a UN Security Council resolution, the Taliban staged a large-scale offensive across Afghanistan in May 2021. This offensive coincided with the withdrawal of American and other Western military forces, culminating in the capture of Kabul on August 15, 2021. Later that month, the Islamist movement declared the establishment of the "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan."

The political changes in Afghanistan have led to significant humanitarian challenges. Nearly 20 million people are facing an acute food crisis, a situation worsened by the international community's sanctions. These measures include denying the Taliban access to the ousted government's foreign currency reserves and severing most forms of foreign aid.

Read also: Russia plans to remove terrorist organization status from the Taliban — report

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