Taliban in Moscow celebrating 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Russian Federation and Afghanistan

Monitoring Desk: Once hardcore enemies of late 70s, (in the shape of former Mujahideen), Afghan Taliban are celebrating 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia (former USSR) and Afghanistan in Moscow.

Taliban are new generation of former Mujahideen who fought an unending war with former Soviet Union for over 18 years and then fought with each other for over next 22 years are now celebrating their historic relations with former Soviet Union by attending 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia (former USSR) and Afghanistan in Moscow.

The delegation is headed by a deputy movement, the head of the Taliban’s political office in Qatar, Mullah Abdullah Ghani Baradar. The ceremonial meeting will be opened by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

The event will also be attended by ex-President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, Ambassador of the Republic of Russia to the Russian Federation Mohammad Latif Bakhand.

Zamir Kabulov, special representative of the Russian president for Afghanistan, director of the Second Department of Asia at the Foreign Ministry said that ways to establish peace in this country will be discussed on the sidelines of the upcoming meeting.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the deputy political leader of the Taliban on political issues while talking to Russian media said that Islamic Emirate (Taliban) wants peace, but it’s necessary to remove the obstacles to peace and let foreign forces (United States and its allies) to leave Afghanistan and then proper negotiations can move ahead.

“The Islamic Emirate wants peace but the first step is to remove obstacles to peace and end the occupation of Afghanistan,” Baradar said, appearing openly on television in what appeared to be a calculated move to establish his legitimacy as one of the main public faces of the Taliban.

Taliban officials have been talking to US diplomats for months about the terms of a withdrawal of more than 23,000 US and NATO coalition troops from Afghanistan and have reached a draft agreement on some issues but no new date for the next round of talks has been set and many obstacles remain.

Chief among these is the Taliban refusal to deal directly with President Ashraf Ghani’s Western-backed government in Kabul, which they dismiss as a “puppet” regime.

Meetings between the Taliban delegation and political figures not formally associated with the government have been seen as a way of preparing the way for full negotiations later. But those contacts are regarded with deep suspicion by many Afghan officials who see them as undermining the legitimacy of the government while reinforcing the position of the Taliban.

The group of politicians attending the ceremony to mark the centenary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Afghanistan and Russia included many of Ghani’s most powerful political adversaries.

Atta Mohammad Noor, the former governor of the northern province of Balkh and a leader of the mainly ethnic Tajik Jamiat-e Islami party, said it was in the interests of all sides to establish a good understanding.

“We want to have good relations with the Taliban and we expect peace from them,” he said.

However, the presidential election in September is expected to put Afghanistan’s political system under heavy strain following bitterly disputed parliamentary elections last year that drew widespread accusations of cheating.