Moscow wants to appear as the key mediator in matters concerning Afghanistan

 Since the return of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, the calculus for Moscow has been tricky: how to reassert its regional influence after the U.S. military exit while also keeping some distance from internal Afghan struggles. The Washington Post reports.

“Afghanistan itself is not of interest to Russia,” said Andrei Serenko, the head of the Moscow-based Center of Contemporary Afghan Studies. “Russia wants to use Afghanistan without getting involved in Afghanistan.” 

Russia’s gambit will be tested Wednesday as it hosts Taliban envoys for multinational talks on the security and political situation in Afghanistan. Russian President Vladimir Putin has cautioned that “there should be no hurry” to officially recognize the Taliban’s governance of Afghanistan.

But the meeting offers another stage for the Taliban to open international channels.

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