Taliban calls for calm in Ukraine

The Taliban’s statement is notably not a strong condemnation of Russia’s military actions in Ukraine

Anuj Pant
Friday 25 February 2022 14:40
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The Taliban has weighed in on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by calling for “restraint by both sides” and saying it was monitoring the situation.

A statement shared by Abdul Qahar Balkhi, a spokesperson for the Taliban’s foreign affairs ministry called for “both sides of the conflict” to resolve the crisis “in line with its foreign policy of neutrality”.

Since it was shared online, the statement has been met with derision by social media users.

The Taliban had forcefully seized power in Afghanistan in August last year, ending 20 years of a democratically elected government in the process.

Last year, Afghanistan’s western-backed president Ashraf Ghani had to escape from the country after the Taliban seized power when the US declared it would pull out of the country.

The Taliban has, since taking power, carried out a number of summary killings.

At least 100 former police and intelligence officers have been abducted or summarily executed since 15 August, according to Human Rights Watch.

The apparent irony of the Taliban’s statement was not lost on several Twitter users.

“Yep. This is a statement from the Taliban about the situation in Ukraine,” tweeted journalist Richard Price.

“You can’t make this stuff up,” said Imtiaz Tyab CBS News’ London correspondent.

“My friend Sahar is 23 years old. She fled to Ukraine on August 15, 2021 because she scared of the Taliban. Now she is looking for another roof to survive. This war is without end,” said senior journalist Marjan Sadat.

The Taliban’s statement, calling for “both parties” to exercise restraint, is also notably not a strong condemnation of Russia’s actions.

The current invasion has led to the loss of more than 100 Ukrainian lives, with the country, in turn, claiming that more than 1,000 Russians have died.

“Russia has not suffered such a large number of casualties during this period of hostilities in the entire period of its existence in any of the armed conflicts it has started,” tweeted the country’s defence ministry.

Russia began the second day of its invasion by entering Kyiv, even as president Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed to stay put in the country and lead the fight.

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