US to skip Russia-organized talks on Afghanistan

US to skip Russia-organized talks on Afghanistan
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The State Department on Monday said the U.S. would not be taking part in talks on Afghanistan being held by Russia this week, citing logistical reasons.

"We will not participate in the Moscow talks. The Troika Plus has been an effective, a constructive forum. We look forward to engaging in that forum going forward, but we’re not in a position to take part this week," State spokesperson Ned Price said during a briefing on Monday.

Price did not expand on what logistical challenges were preventing the U.S. from participating.

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In March, Russia hosted a meeting attended by representatives from the U.S., China, Afghanistan and Pakistan to discuss Afghanistan amid the looming U.S. withdrawal, which was completed in late August.

As The Associated Press reported, members of the Taliban were invited by Russia to attend the talks in Moscow set to take place this Wednesday. Officials have not shared what they plan to discuss during the talks.

Though Russia considers the Taliban to be a terrorist organization, the AP noted that it has sought for years to establish contact with the militant group. Though contacting the Taliban is punishable under Russian law, officials have said that engagement is necessary for the stabilization of Afghanistan.

Since withdrawing from Afghanistan in 1989 when it was the Soviet Union, Russia has sought to be a power broker when it comes to matters involving the country.