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Russian cautions Taliban of Mass Uprising from ethnic minorities if it fails to share power with them

The Russian envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov has cautioned Taliban about resistance against them due to their failure to have an inclusive government

Top Russian envoy for Afghanistan has cautioned the Taliban rulers that there is a possibility of widespread popular resistance against them and an escalation of the war in Afghanistan beginning in spring of 2022 because of their failure to form an inclusive government as promised during intra-Afghan peace talks in Doha. 

“There is a possibility of widespread popular resistance against the Taliban. Ethnic political inclusiveness is needed. They might lose power in the near future if they keep acting like that,” the Russian envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, told the Russian news agency Tass on Tuesday. He added that Russia is ready to meditate between the Taliban and the anti-Taliban groups.

Confirming the meeting held between the Deputy Prime Minister of Taliban regime Mullah Baradar and Ahmad Massoud, anti-Taliban leader of National Resistance Front (NRF) in Moscow in last month, Kabulov said: ”As for visits to Moscow by representatives of both the new Afghan authorities and opposition forces, we have repeatedly confirmed our readiness to demonstrate hospitality if they are interested in that.”

Though the Taliban had denied such meetings in Moscow, TOLO news confirmed the meeting between Massoud and Baradar, quoting the sources of Massoud’s National Resistance Front (NRF). The source also said that these meetings were mediated by Russia on the behest of the Taliban regime.

Also Read: Taliban leaders reach out again to Panjshir rivals Massoud and Saleh at a meeting in Moscow

Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry had raised the concerns about ethnic tensions and protests in the northern part of Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s Taliban regime is battling a rebellion by ethnic minority fighters in their own ranks in the country’s north, a sign that ties are fraying within the alliance built by the Pashtun dominated Islamist group. The Taliban leadership knows that there can be no peace in North Afghanistan if the Uzbek and Tajik groups remain hostile. Ahmad Massoud is the son of the Lion of Panjshir, Ahmad Shah Massoud who was a celebrity Tajik leader.

A fortnight before the Moscow meeting, Iran hosted the first meeting between the Taliban leaders and anti-Taliban leaders. The Foreign Minister of the Taliban regime Amir Muttaqi met Ahmad Massoud and the former governor of Herat Ismail Khan. But  Muttaqi rejected the demands of decentralising  power and forming an inclusive government. Later, the Taliban minister admitted that there were internal differences in the Taliban regime on several issues but was hopeful “it will be solved in the future.”

Also Read: Haqqani would not agree to your demands, Taliban Minister Mutaqqi told Massoud claims National Resistance Front (NRF)

According to some Afghan watchers, both Moscow and Tehran have been putting pressure on the Taliban to talk to the NRF. Even Tajikistan, which is hosting Massoud and other anti-Taliban leaders, has encouraged the talks in Tehran and Russia also endorsed them.

Interestingly, Pakistan’s ISI tried three times to host the talks but Massoud and Saleh were “playing hardball” and chose to meet in Iran and Russia.

According to the experts, Massoud is very close to Iran and Russia. There have been reports that Massod’s NRF is getting weapons from Tajikistan and Russia. Photographs have subsequently appeared of NRF fighters posing with Russian arms. Both the governments denied such reports.

Also Read: Russia says it hasn't supplied any weapons to Afghan Resistance fighters battling Taliban in Panjshir