The Ministry has noticed the accusations against the Russian Federation recently made by the representatives of the command of foreign military contingents stationed in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, as well as some Afghan officials, that Moscow allegedly supports the Taliban Movement. The Russian side is "charged" with the supply of arms, financing the activities of this extremist organization and even assisting in setting up of training camps for militants on the Afghan territory. Needless to say that all these accusations are not substantiated.
Replication of such absurd figments reveals a staged campaign to discredit our country, with throwing in a message of "undermining" international anti-terrorist efforts in Afghanistan by Russia to the Afghan and world community.
It is obvious that behind these attempts there stand certain forces both outside Afghanistan and inside it who are not interested in stabilizing the situation in that country. This is also being done to divert attention from the responsibility for numerous mistakes made in more than 16 years of the foreign military presence in Afghanistan.
Russia makes a significant contribution to the collective fight against terrorism in Afghanistan. We provide free assistance in equipping the Afghan National Security Forces with arms and ammunition, organizing training of their officers in respective Russian educational institutions.
As far as limited contacts with the Taliban movement are concerned, they are aimed at ensuring safety of Russian citizens in Afghanistan and encouraging the Taliban to join the national reconciliation process under the leadership of Kabul and on the basis of three well-known principles: the recognition of the IRA Constitution, disarmament, break-up of its ties with IS, Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.
These actions are unlikely to "legitimize" the Taliban as the movement was already recognized by Kabul as an equal dialogue partner during the series of meetings of IRA officials held in 2015 with representatives of the Taliban in Qatar, China, the UAE, Norway, Pakistan.
It is not a secret that many countries of the region and beyond, as well as the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan maintain contacts with the Taliban. Unfortunately, until now such meetings and various formats established to help stabilize the situation in the IRA have been unsuccessful.
In this light, Moscow has decided to intensify efforts to develop a unified regional approach to advancing the process of national reconciliation and creating favorable conditions for establishing direct talks between the Government of the IRA and the Taliban Movement. The consultations in the format of the Moscow Dialogue with participation of interested partners held in December 2016 and February 2017 year were directed at achieving this target. We intend to continue this work with a view to ending the fratricidal war as soon as possible, reaching harmony and peace in Afghanistan.