Putin says Russia needs to work with the Taliban

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that a security bloc led by Moscow and Beijing should take the lead in ensuring the Taliban kept its promises on preventing terrorism and drug trafficking.

The Kremlin chief said the Shanghai Cooperation organization (SCO) should “use its potential” to “stimulate the new Afghan authorities” in fulfilling their promises on normalizing life and bringing security in Afghanistan.

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He was speaking via video link at a summit of the eight-member SCO held in Afghanistan’s neighbor Tajikistan.

Countries allied with Russia and China are holding a series of meetings in the Central Asian state this week.

Moscow has been cautiously optimistic on the Taliban since it came to power last month after a series of lightning offensives across Afghanistan.

Nevertheless, the Kremlin has said it is in no hurry to recognize Afghanistan’s new authorities, calling on the Taliban to curb drug-trafficking and fight against extremist groups.

Moscow and Beijing have moved to assert themselves as key players in the region, after the US’ hasty retreat from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s takeover of the country.

Other founding members of the SCO are former Soviet Central Asian states Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan joined the bloc in 2017.

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