New Delhi: Russia is hosting the next round of talks between Taliban leaders and the United States, China, India, and others in Moscow on October 19-20.
Kremlin's envoy Zamir Kabulov to the country has said that representatives of the Taliban have confirmed their participation. Taliban's foreign ministry spokesperson Abdul Qahar Balkhi also confirmed, saying that Maulvi Abdul Salam Hanafi, deputy of the council of ministers in the Taliban government, will lead the delegation in the meeting.
"A senior delegation of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan led by Deputy PM H.E. Mawlawi Abdul Salam Hanafi will attend the upcoming Moscow meeting and meet with representatives of different states to discuss issues of mutual interest," Balkhi wrote in a tweet.
Russia, which has hosted Moscow format meetings earlier too, is, of course, now worried about the 'fallout' in the region and the possibility of Islamist militants infiltrating the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. Moscow, in recent weeks, held military exercises in Tajikistan and bolstered hardware at its military bases, reports say.
The Russian news agency quoted Zamir Kabulov saying that the countries "will try to work out a common position on the changing situation in Afghanistan."
This will be the first Moscow format dialogue since the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban in August.
India has got an invitation for the Moscow Format meet. "We have received an invitation for the Moscow Format meeting on Afghanistan. We will be participating in it," MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told reporters here. "I don't have a final confirmation as to who would be attending, but it is likely that we will have (participation) at the joint secretary level," he said.
Russia has been holding the 'Moscow Format' of talks to address Afghan issues, and in fact, several rounds of talks have been held in Moscow since 2017.
Iran is also expected to depute its representatives, and so would Pakistan.
Moscow had hosted an international conference on Afghanistan in March in which Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan released a joint statement calling on the then-warring Afghan sides to reach a peace deal.