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FM Lavrov: Russia Regrets US Absence at Moscow-Format Meeting on Afghanistan

© REUTERS / US MARINESU.S. Marines provide assistance during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 20, 2021.
U.S. Marines provide assistance during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 20, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.10.2021
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia regrets the absence of the US at the Moscow-format negotiations on Afghanistan and hopes that Washington remains committed to cooperating, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.

"We express regret over our US counterparts not participating in this meeting. We have noticed that the US has avoided the Extended Troika meeting for the second time in a row... I hope this is not caused by some serious problems", Lavrov said.

According to the diplomat, this absence might be due to the recent resignation of US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad.

"I hope that the US remains ready to actively engage in the effort on Afghanistan and the new special representative will join further steps, including following this round of talks in the Moscow format", the foreign minister added.

© REUTERS / STRINGERMembers of Taliban security forces stand guard as crowds of people walk past in front of a money exchange market in Kabul, Afghanistan September 4, 2021
Members of Taliban security forces stand guard as crowds of people walk past in front of a money exchange market in Kabul, Afghanistan September 4, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.10.2021
Members of Taliban security forces stand guard as crowds of people walk past in front of a money exchange market in Kabul, Afghanistan September 4, 2021
Lavrov also stated that Washington needs to play a central role in the normalisation of the situation in Afghanistan, adding that Moscow noted the Taliban's* efforts to get the situation back to normal.

"Now, after a radical change in the situation on the ground, it is already pointless to look for those to blame for the fact that it was not possible to achieve a tangible result in the matter of national reconciliation", he said

The Taliban had been boosting its offensive over the year amid the US troop withdrawal from the country. In August, the radical movement seized Kabul and subsequently claimed control over all of Afghanistan's provinces in early September.
After that, the Taliban announced a new all-male government, led by Mohammad Hasan Akhund, a former foreign minister during the previous Taliban rule, who has been under UN sanctions since 2001.
* The Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.
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