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First diplomat of Taliban-led Afghanistan accredited in Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. (Kremlin/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Moscow has accredited the first diplomat from Taliban-led Afghanistan even though Russia has labeled the militant group a terrorist organization and most of the world has shunned the hard-line regime.

Speaking at a gathering of foreign ministers of nations neighboring Afghanistan on March 31, Lavrov said the Taliban’s diplomat was accredited by the Foreign Ministry in Moscow in February and has been active since.

“We are convinced that the international community should actively cooperate with Afghanistan’s new government, encouraging steps aimed at its official recognition by the UN and all its participants,” Lavrov told the gathering — which included the foreign ministers from Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan — in the eastern Chinese city of Tunxi.

The Taliban took control of the country last August as international forces withdrew from Afghanistan following two decades of fighting.

Most of the world’s countries do not recognize the Taliban-led government amid concerns that the militants are not living up to their promises of respecting human rights. However, on March 17, the United Nations Security Council voted to establish official ties with Afghanistan.