Will wonders never cease? Of all countries, who would have expected Russia to bring the Taliban on to the negotiating table. On November 9, 2018, in what is known as the Moscow Format, Russia hosted representatives from the Taliban’s political office, headed by Sher Abbas Stanakzai, members of the Afghan High Peace Council (HPC), as well as representatives from Pakistan, China, Iran, India, and the Central Asian States .
Although members of the Afghan government did not participate, the fact that members of the HPC took part, along with President Ghani’s uncle, Abdul Qayoum Kochai, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Russia, indicates the tacit approval of Kabul for the interaction. Similarly, the US took part as an observer.