WASHINGTON, June 30. /TASS/. American and Russian diplomats have regular contacts on Afghanistan-related topics, building up their efforts despite the novel coronavirus pandemic, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov told journalists on Tuesday.
“I have to state that American journalists seem to be poorly informed about Russia’s and the United States’ joint efforts towards political settlement in Afghanistan. Diplomats from our countries have regular contacts, both bilaterally and within international formats. Afghanistan is one of those area where efforts never stop but are only build up, despite the pandemic,” he stressed.
He recalled his recent “constructive and detailed” discussion of “joint efforts in the interests of strengthening peace and stability in Afghanistan” with US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad. “We agreed to continue coordination of our steps towards launching consultations between Afghan political forces and the armed opposition,” Antonov said.
On June 15, Russia, the United States and Afghanistan held online consultations. The Russian and US sides hailed the Afghan government’s plans to finish the release of 5,000 Taliban (a radical movement outlawed in Russia) supporters.
The United States and the Taliban movement signed a peace deal on February 29 in Qatar’s capital city Doha. Under the terms of the deal, Washington and its allies commit to withdrawing their forces from Afghanistan in next 14 months. The Taliban, in turn, undertakes not to use Afghanistan’s territory to stage actions jeopardizing the United States’ and its allies’ security. Before the launch of intra-Afghan talks, up to 5,000 Taliban supporters are to be released and the Taliban is to release up to 1,000 people it keeps prisoner as a trust-building measure.