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TASS: Taliban representative to attend St. Petersburg International Economic Forum

The Taliban terrorist movement that has seized power in Afghanistan will send a representative to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, TASS reported citing a source in diplomatic circles. Jamal Nasir Garval, Afghan chargé d’affaires in Moscow appointed by the Taliban government, will attend the event.

Garval arrived in Russia back in February and was accredited by the Russian Foreign Ministry in March. The ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called this decision “a step toward resuming full-fledged bilateral diplomatic contacts.” She said, however, that it is still too early to talk about official recognition of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. On April 29, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Afghan chargé d’affaires had already started his work in Moscow.

On June 6, Zakharova said that diplomatic contacts between Afghanistan and Russia did not stop even after the change of power in Kabul. “We had contacts with the Taliban movement even before the change of power as well. The Russian embassy in Afghanistan continues its work as usual. As for the staff of Afghanistan’s diplomatic mission in Moscow, they were appointed by the previous government,” she explained.

Earlier, the head of the self-proclaimed DNR, Denis Pushilin, announced his plans to attend SPIEF.

SPIEF, which is often called the “Russian Davos,” has been held since 1997. Since 2005, the president of Russia began to participate in the forum annually. According to the secretary of the forum’s organizing committee, the organizers have sent invitations to participants from more than 190 countries but only 69 countries and territories have confirmed their participation.

The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021 after U.S. troops left the country. Since the Taliban came to power, the situation in the country, particularly in relation to women’s rights, has noticeably deteriorated. The Taliban abolished the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. They also prohibited women from riding in cars without hijabs. In early January, the Taliban banned women from public baths in northern provinces.

Many women lost their livelihoods. For example, four out of five female journalists lost their jobs and more than 230 media outlets in the country were shut down after the Taliban came to power.

In late December 2021, Taliban gunmen dispersed female protesters who were demanding food, jobs and education. In January, after another protest, the Taliban kidnapped some female protesters and their relatives. They were later released.

In Russia, the Taliban are listed as terrorists, but state media have been instructed to remove the label from any Taliban-related material. Instead, when mentioning the Taliban, a footnote should be added: “The organization is under UN sanctions for terrorist activities.”

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