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Russia expects peaceful solution to confrontation in Afghanistan’s Panjshir – Sergey Lavrov

Sergey Lavrov says Moscow has no intention to play role of mediator

Russia hopes the confrontation between Taliban and opposing forces in Panjshir Valley – the mountainous region leading resistance against Taliban rule in Afghanistan – will be solved through negotiations, the country’s foreign minister said on Thursday.

Asked if Russia can play the role of a mediator between the opposing sides, Sergey Lavrov said there are no such intentions.

“We have long called on the Taliban and all other ethnic and political groups in Afghanistan to agree on the establishment of an inclusive transitional government. We are not planning to act as a mediator in these negotiations now,” he told a news conference in the city of Yekaterinburg.

After the Taliban’s swift takeover of power in Afghanistan, the Panjshir Valley in the north is the only territory not under the group’s control. Negotiations have so far failed and there are conflicting reports on clashes.

Lavrov said all powers want the Taliban and other ethnic and political figures of Afghanistan to reach an agreement.

Russia’s ally Tajikistan is playing a role in Panjshir as Afghan Tajiks are negotiating with the Taliban, he added.

“I hope these talks will end with a negotiated solution, and will not be interrupted, and the threats about resuming hostilities will not be implemented.”

Home to the country’s largest ethnic Tajik population, Panjshir was defended by commander Ahmad Shah Massoud during the Soviet-Afghan war in 1980s.

His son Ahmad Massoud, and Bismillah Mohammedi, the defense minister in Ashraf Ghani’s Cabinet, are now leading the resistance against the Taliban.

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