Russian President Putin says Taliban are Moscow’s ‘allies’

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that the Taliban, a banned group in Russia, are Moscow’s “allies” in fighting terrorism because they are in control of Afghanistan.

Moscow has for years fostered relations with the Taliban, despite being a banned organization in Russia since 2003, and Putin last month called for Moscow to “build up” relations with the Taliban government.

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“We must assume that the Taliban control the power in the country. And in this sense the Taliban are, of course, our allies in the fight against terrorism, because any authorities are interested in stability in the state they govern,” Putin said in Astana.

The Taliban have been fighting against extremist rival ISIS-K in Afghanistan for years.

In March, ISIS-K fighters killed more than 140 people in an assault on a Moscow concert hall, the deadliest terror attack in Russia for almost two decades.

Since taking over Afghanistan in 2021, the Taliban have enforced an extreme form of Islamic law that effectively bans women from public life.

Putin said that the Taliban have “taken on some responsibilities” but that there are still “issues that need constant attention inside the country and from the international community.”

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“I am sure that the Taliban are interested in everything being stable in Afghanistan,” he added.

Moscow has warmed relations with Afghanistan -- with which it has a complicated history after the Soviet invasion in the 1980s -- since the US exit from the country.

But it has fallen short of officially recognizing the Taliban government and what it calls the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.”

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