Russia denies contacts with Taliban
Moscow – The Russian foreign ministry Wednesday denied media reports that a diplomat has held talks with Afghanistan’s Taliban movement over the release of a Russian held captive since April.
“We would like to highlight that the agency (the Associated Press) ought to better verify information received from Taliban before making it public,” Xinhua quoted the ministry as saying in an online comment.
Earlier this month, some foreign media reported negotiations between a Russian official and representatives of the Taliban. The Associated Press said that Russian special envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov held talks with Taliban in Qatar.
According to the report, a senior Taliban official said that a former Russian ambassador to Afghanistan has been in contact with the religious movement over the release of Pavel Petrenko, a Russian who was among 10 foreign civilians captured after their cargo helicopter made an emergency landing in eastern Afghanistan in April.
Eight Turks, a Kyrgyz and their Afghan translator also were seized.
The AP also cited Petrenko’s wife as saying that she “had been told” the negotiations for her husband’s release were ongoing. The agency did not specify who allegedly spoke to the woman.
Taliban fought against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s.