ISTANBUL (AA) – The Taliban-led interim government in Afghanistan on Friday called for restraint amid Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, stressing that Kabul’s foreign policy is that of “neutrality.”
“All sides need to desist from taking positions that could intensify violence,” said Abdul Qahar Balkhi, spokesperson for the Afghan Foreign Ministry.
Russia launched its long-feared military intervention in Ukraine early Thursday, with President Vladimir Putin saying the operation’s aim is to protect people “subjected to genocide” by Kyiv and to “demilitarize and denazify” Ukraine. He also called on the Ukrainian army to lay down its arms.
According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, more than 130 people, including civilians, were killed on the first day of the military intervention.
Balkhi stressed that the interim Taliban government follows as a “foreign policy of neutrality (but) calls on both sides of the conflict to resolve the crisis through dialogue and peaceful means.”
He also urged Moscow and Kyiv to protect Afghan students and migrants in the region.
After the fall of Afghanistan’s US-backed government last August, Moscow has proven to be a significant source of support for the new Taliban administration.
Before taking on US-led foreign forces in Afghanistan, the Taliban fought the former Soviet Union when it invaded the country in the late 1970s.