Russia Invites the Taliban to Participate in an Economic Forum

The Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice inform President Putin that Moscow can remove the Taliban from the list of banned organizations

Russia has invited the Taliban to participate in the St. Petersburg Economic Forum in June, the Russian news agency TASS reported today, citing the Russian Foreign Ministry. This indicates a rapprochement between the two parties in recent years, especially after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine.


The agency also reported today that the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice have informed President Vladimir Putin that Moscow could remove the Taliban from the list of banned organizations.

This invitation comes a few weeks after Nooruddin Azizi, acting Minister of Industry and Commerce in Afghanistan, announced that the movement had agreed with Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to establish a logistics center in western Afghanistan, aiming to transform the war-torn country into a major logistics hub for regional exports, including Russian oil to South Asia.

Observers believe that with the decline in foreign aid to Afghanistan and an economy predominantly agricultural damaged by persistent drought, the unrecognized Taliban government faces questions on how to fund development and avoid economic stagnation.

In contrast, Russian authorities are taking steps to integrate the Afghan movement to enhance economic cooperation with regional countries following stringent Western sanctions, particularly by the United States.

This cooperation could capitalize on Afghanistan’s strategic location, once a passage of the ancient Silk Road, situated between South and Central Asia, and sharing borders with China and Iran.

Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Commerce stated at the time that it wants to develop roads and railways passing through Afghanistan to reach South Asia and the Gulf, with the center serving as an important logistics hub.

Economic cooperation might pave the way for security collaboration, given that the Islamic State-Khorasan, whose leadership is based in Afghanistan, poses a significant threat to Russia and the Taliban.

The extremist organization has carried out bloody attacks in Afghanistan against Taliban fighters and Russian interests, including a deadly attack in Moscow.

Last month, the Afghan government welcomed Moscow’s announcement of its intention to remove the Taliban from the list of terrorist organizations, after nearly two decades of this classification coinciding with the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

Putin had stated during the Taliban‘s takeover of Afghanistan a few months ago that his country was moving towards their removal from Moscow’s list of terrorist groups, with the final decision resting with the United Nations.

The Taliban remains classified as a terrorist organization in several countries, including the United States.

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