‘Refugee exodus’ possible if there is no stability in Afghanistan – Taliban delegation head to RT

Lack of stability in Afghanistan could provoke another wave of refugees that could affect Europe, Taliban delegation head Abdul Salam Hanafi told RT in Moscow, calling on the world to help the country.

Hanafi praised the results of the Moscow Format Consultations on Afghanistan, calling the meeting “very useful.” He specifically welcomed the fact that all the participants agreed on the need to maintain stability and security in Afghanistan, adding that it is the goal of the government set up by the Taliban as well.

Despite the Taliban being designated as a terrorist organization and banned in Russia, representatives of its political branch were granted permission to begin attending talks in Moscow earlier this year in an effort to forge a peace deal with the government of the now-ousted president, Ashraf Ghani. Since then, the militant group has taken control of almost all of Afghanistan, following the withdrawal of US troops and their allies.

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On October 20, eight nations took part in the consultations, along with Russian diplomats and a Taliban delegation led by Hanafi, who is now a deputy prime minister in the government. The list of participants included Iran, China, India, Pakistan, and other regional powers.

Hanafi welcomed Moscow’s role in the developments, saying that Russia’s position is “fairly constructive” and Moscow plays “a significant role in the region.” He also said that Russia could greatly contribute to ensuring security and stability in the region and called efforts on Moscow’s part very important.

The Taliban delegation head also maintained that the government he represents strives to provide security for all Afghan citizens, adding that it would “not let anyone use Afghan territory to damage the security of neighboring states and other nations.” He also said the Taliban is determined to punish all extremists committing acts of terrorism in the country.

He also called on other nations to help ensure that Afghanistan remains stable and secure, noting the issue of refugees. Should efforts to ensure stability fail, a new “exodus of refugees” to other countries is possible, Hanafi said, adding that Europe in particular could be affected.

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The Taliban representative said his government seeks stable relations with all nations, including the US.

If they want to have stable relations with us, then that is what we want as well.

The delegation head pointed out that Washington is “well aware” that it’s holding Afghanistan’s financial assets and said that freezing the funds is illegal.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov acknowledged the efforts of the new leadership to “stabilize the military-political situation,” but stressed that achieving peace in the region remains an urgent matter. He once again called on the Taliban to facilitate the formation of a “truly inclusive government, which should fully reflect the interests of not only all ethnic groups, but also all political factions in the country.”

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Head of the Taliban delegation Abdul Salam Hanafi speaks with journalists during international talks on Afghanistan in Moscow, Russia, October 20, 2021. © Alexander Zemlianichenko / Pool via REUTERS
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