Taliban In 3/4 Of Afghan Land Due To Kabul Stalling Peace Talks - Russian Diplomat

Taliban in 3/4 of Afghan Land Due to Kabul Stalling Peace Talks - Russian Diplomat

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 16th February, 2021) Kabul's policy of delaying the start of peace talks paved the way for the Taliban to establish control over the three-fourths of Afghan land, Russia's Special Presidential Representative for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, told Sputnik.

"The Kabul administration has already committed many follies: it was delaying the start of the negotiations while waiting for a change of administration in Washington and thinking that the new one would behave differently. They did finally see it: there are certain hints of a revision [of the agreement]. This delay to the start of real talks led to the Taliban having taken advantage of Kabul's unwillingness to engage in substantive dialogue in order to expand their zone of influence to the 3/4 of Afghan territory under their control," Kabulov, who also heads the Russian Foreign Ministry's second Asian department, said.

At present, he noted, the Taliban are in control of all districts around the capital region.

"Where is the gain? The Kabul administration stalled for some time and saw the Taliban further strengthen their negotiating position; and [the latter] will naturally exert pressure," the high-ranking diplomat stated.

Under the Taliban-US deal, direct intra-Afghan talks were scheduled to commence last March, but kicked off only in September, when the sides finally resolved their differences over the mutual release of prisoners. The Biden administration's ongoing review of the Trump-era deal with the Islamist movement has added uncertainty to the slow-moving talks.