MOSCOW - Russia will invite representatives of the Taliban to international talks on Afghanistan that it plans to host in Moscow on Oct. 20, President Vladimir Putin's special representative on Afghanistan said on Thursday.
Zamir Kabulov, the representative, did not provide further details on the planned talks in comments carried by Russian news agencies.
Moscow hosted an international conference on Afghanistan in March at which Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan released a joint statement calling on the then-warring Afghan sides to reach a peace deal and curb violence.
It also called on the Taliban not to launch any offensives in the spring and summer.
Since then, the United States and its allies withdrew their troops after 20 years on the ground, the Taliban seized power in a lightning advance and the previous government collapsed.
Russia is worried about the potential for fallout in the wider region and the possibility of Islamist militants infiltrating the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, which Moscow views as its southern defensive buffer.
In the wake of the Taliban takeover, Moscow has held military exercises in Tajikistan and bolstered its hardware at its military base there.
Putin on Thursday also held a phone call with Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon in which the two leaders discussed the security situation surrounding the latest developments in Afghanistan, the Tajik presidency said in a statement.
(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Peter Graff and Raissa Kasolowsky) ((Gabrielle.Tetrault-Farber@thomsonreuters.com))