Anti-Taliban group leader asks Russia to mediate talks with Taliban

Ahmad Massoud says he hopes Moscow will help prevent escalation of violence


Anadolu Agency August 26, 2021
Ahmad Massoud, son of Afghanistan's slain anti-Soviet resistance hero Ahmad Shah Massoud, speaks during an interview at his house in Bazarak, Panjshir province, Afghanistan, September 5, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ANKARA:

The Tajik leader of the forces stuck under the siege of the Taliban in Afghanistan’s Panjshir Valley called on Russia to assume a mediatory role and help conduct emergency peace talks between his forces and the Taliban to make a buffer zone in the valley.

In an interview with Russian media group RBK, Ahmad Massoud, head of the anti-Taliban resistance movement, said he hopes that Russia will help prevent the escalation of violence.

"The international community, regional powers, including Russia, can pressure the Taliban to create a buffer zone for those who cannot leave Afghanistan. There may be a region where they can stay until the peace talks yield results," Massoud said.

Read more: Taliban will allow Americans, at-risk Afghans to leave after Aug 31: Blinken

"I wholeheartedly believe that peace talks are the only solution. But as there are certain military manoeuvres and preparations in the Panjshir Valley, we are also preparing to defend ourselves," he added.

Massoud recalled that Afghanistan has been in wars for the last 50 years in general and said the country needs peace and dialogue.

Also read: Peaceful Afghanistan vital for Pakistan and regional stability, Imran tells Putin

He went on to say the Taliban stated their openness to negotiations, adding that it is "encouraging" for his group.

"What really matters is to be inclusive. If the government is inclusive, we can look at the future with hope. Otherwise, it will be a new failed attempt to build a state," Massoud said.

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