Russia Hosts Afghanistan Peace Talks - James Marson and Craig Nelson – Wall Street Journal
Russia convened Taliban officials, Afghan government envoys and representatives from seven nations for talks aimed at catalyzing an end to a 17-year war and burnishing Moscow’s credentials as a regional power broker.
The meeting Friday appeared to yield no significant breakthroughs, although participants agreed to gather again at an undetermined date. However, the participation of the Taliban marked the Islamist movement’s first official visit to the Russian capital and its highest-profile diplomatic foray in years, as it seeks to translate its gains made on the battlefield in the past 18 months into political leverage.
“We’re attending the conference to prove we’re willing to agree on a peaceful solution of the Afghan issue and to participate in any meeting which is for that purpose,” a Taliban delegate said ahead of the talks.
The Taliban’s attendance is a triumph for Russia’s re-engagement in a country the Soviet Union departed ignominiously in 1989 after a nine-year occupation that left 15,000 Soviet soldiers and between 600,000 and 1.5 million Afghans dead…
It is the first time Taliban militants have attended such an event.
Members of Afghanistan's High Peace Council, which oversees peace efforts but does not represent the Afghan government, were also present.
But the Taliban again stressed the group would only hold direct talks with the US - not the Kabul government.
Kabul did not send its delegation for the meeting, which was attended by about a dozen countries. The US had observer status…