In blow to India, Russia joins China and Pakistan in asking UNSC to lift sanctions against Taliban leaders

In a major setback for India, Russia has for the first time joined hands with Pakistan and China to collectively ask the UN Security Council to lift sanctions against select Taliban leaders.
Nawaz Sharif with Vladimir Putin
India TV News Desk New Delhi December 29, 2016 16:09 IST

In a major setback for India, Russia has for the first time joined hands with Pakistan and China to collectively ask the UN Security Council to lift sanctions against select Taliban leaders.

The foreign secretaries of Russia, China and Pakistan in a trilateral meeting in Moscow on Wednesday decided to seek "flexible approaches", including the lifting of UN sanctions against select Taliban leaders to broker peace with the group in Afghanistan.

"Russia and China, as permanent members of the UN Security Council, reaffirmed their readiness for flexible approaches to the prospect of excluding certain individuals from the list of sanctioned persons as part of efforts to promote a peaceful dialogue between Kabul and the Taliban movement," a joint statement on the meeting issued by the Russian foreign ministry said.

India has always maintained that Taliban is a Pakistan-backed militant group and urged the world community not to differentiate between "good" and "bad" terrorists saying it is fraught with risks for the stability of the region.

Even Russia had traditionally backed India’s position on the Taliban which emerged from the mujahideen that bloodied the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

 

India and Russia had also worked together through the 1990s to prop up the Northern Alliance in the north of Afghanistan as a counter to the Taliban.

The decision, which caps recent attempts by Russia to engage directly with the Taliban amid growing worries about the rise of the Islamic State in Afghanistan, has left an unsettled New Delhi scampering for a strategic response, senior officials have told this newspaper.

"This is a setback for India and should concern India. The Russian perspective is that they will be willing to do whatever it takes to contain the IS. And they believe that Pakistan is critical for that," Pranay Kotasthane, head of the geo-strategy programme at the Bangalore-based think tank, the Takshashila Institution, told The Telegraph.

 
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