Top Russian diplomat meets Taliban, encourages US withdrawal

Top Russian diplomat meets Taliban, encourages US withdrawal
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, first row center, and other participants of the "intra-Afghan" talks pray during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019. The U.S. has promised to withdraw half of its troops from Afghanistan by the end of April, a Taliban official said Wednesday, but the U.S. military said it has received no orders to begin packing up. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

MOSCOW (AP) — A top Russian diplomat has met with Taliban representatives and expressed Moscow’s support for the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The meeting came after two days of talks between prominent Afghan figures and Taliban representatives in Moscow. A senior Taliban official said Wednesday that the United States has promised to withdraw half of its troops from Afghanistan by the end of April, but the U.S. military did not confirm it.

Zamir Kabulovm, the Russian presidential envoy on Afghanistan, told the RIA Novosti news agency Thursday that Russia is willing to help talks between the U.S. and the Taliban on the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Kabulov also said that Moscow would be willing to support lifting sanctions from the Taliban as long as other U.N. Security Council members are also on board.