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Russia-led CSTO bloc ‘deeply concerned’ by Taliban’s growing control in Afghanistan

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The Russia-led CSTO security bloc is deeply concerned by the Taliban taking control in Afghanistan and thinks it has a significant impact on the situation in Central Asia, the bloc said in a statement on Monday.

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The CSTO will provide all help to its member Tajikistan in the event of a security threat from neighboring Afghanistan, but it sees no need for such help now, it said. The bloc plans drills on the Afghan-Tajik border in the coming months, it said.

Moscow will decide whether to recognize the new Taliban government based on its conduct, the Kremlin envoy on Afghanistan said in an interview Monday.

Zamir Kabulov told the Ekho Moskvy radio station that “no one is going to rush” the decision. “Recognition or non-recognition will depend on the conduct of the new authorities,” Kabulov said.

Russia labeled the Taliban a terrorist organization in 2003, but has since hosted several rounds of talks in Afghanistan, most recently in March, that involved the group. Moscow, which fought a 10-year war in Afghanistan that ended with Soviet troops’ withdrawal in 1989, has made a diplomatic comeback as a mediator, reaching out to feuding Afghan factions as it has jockeyed with the US for influence in the country.

Kabulov said Monday the Taliban was “deservedly” declared a terrorist group in Russia two decades ago.

“The Taliban have learned this lesson well. If they haven’t learned it in full, they will have to face great difficulties in relations not only with Russia, but with the entire global community,” Kabulov said.

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