The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday that it postponed a multilateral peace meeting in Afghanistan after the Afghan government rejected an invitation to meet with the Taliban in Moscow.
The Moscow talks, originally scheduled for September 4, presented a challenge to US and European officials who wanted the Taliban to negotiate with the Afghan government and negotiate an end to the 17-year war.
A statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry said the talks had been postponed after the president
asked the Russian Foreign Minister
for more time to prepare. Afghanistan was expected to co-chair the meeting with Russia.
"An agreement has been reached to jointly work out a new date for the meeting by diplomatic means," the statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
The Afghan government told Moscow The meeting could have "provided a unique opportunity to achieve our common goal of peace" and provided a place for direct talks with the Taliban.
Other regional nations should be expected, including China, Iran, and Pakistan, but not the US [1
United States Ambassador
The State Department Deputy Secretary of State for South and Central Asia has spent months of efforts by the US to engage with the Taliban and initiate a peace process with the Afghan government.
One of Ms. Wells' goals was to convince the Taliban to agree to a ceasefire after a three-day violent break during a religious holiday in June. But the increased engagements have not led to any reports of progress in the talks.
The Taliban denied President Ashraf Ghani's offer of a three-month ceasefire that coincides with the beginning of Eid al-Adha, a major Islamic holiday. According to authorities, the insurgents have limited incentive ahead of the presidential elections in Afghanistan next year Initiate process.
The Afghan government had interfered with Russia's efforts to play a leading role in the peace talks last week after announcing it was not visiting Moscow. The Taliban had previously confirmed their participation plans.
In a statement on Facebook, the Afghan Foreign Ministry said the decision had been dropped after the Taliban refused to accept the proposed three-month ceasefire.
"The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan can not attend such a meeting where the Taliban have no obligation for peace negotiations," the statement said.
A senior Afghan official said the Moscow meeting had been frozen for at least a month Kabul had urged Russia not to include the Taliban on a multilateral platform
"We worked very hard for it," the official said. Ghani's ceasefire bid was followed by an increase in violence that resulted in at least 325 deaths in attacks on security forces, students, and a Taliban attack on East Ghazni that forced the US to send troops to prevent the provincial capital's collapse.
The Taliban political office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Write to Jessica Donati at [email protected]