India is expected to participate in the October 20 Moscow Format on Afghanistan — the first edition of this dialogue since the Ghani government was overrun by the Taliban on August 15. This meeting in the Russian capital could formally bring New Delhi face to face with the Taliban for the first time since the group announced its interim cabinet.
The Taliban, still outlawed in Russia, have been invited by Moscow to the meeting, ET has learnt. The Taliban have not yet made clear as to who would represent them at the meeting.
This will be the first edition of the Moscow Format on Afghanistan since the Taliban stormed to power, with Russia deciding to continue with this format amid calls for an inclusive government in Kabul and measures to prevent terrorists from using Afghan’s territory for cross-border terror attacks. Russia as well as the Central Asian states are worried over the spill over of radical forces.
While India had its first formal contact with the Taliban in Doha on August 31, the Moscow Format will enable the first formal contact between New Delhi and the interim Taliban government in Kabul. The interim cabinet was announced in the September second week.