Photo Credit: Newsonline
A Taliban fighter, June 11, 2013.

Russia has invited the Taliban movement, which is banned there, to participate in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), TASS reported, citing Zamir Kabulov, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second Asian Department.

“An invitation was sent to them, I don’t know how high up it goes,” Kabulov said.


As to the issues that would be of interest to the banned band of terrorists, Kabulov elucidated,

“Traditionally, the Afghanis are interested in continuing expanding cooperation on purchasing petroleum products and other hot commodities from Russia. Certainly, it is possible to talk about using Afghanistan’s transit capabilities in order to expand trade turnover with this vast region.”

Which brings up the obvious question of what Afghanistan has to offer to the Russians in trade. We know they don’t have poppy. Opium poppy production in Afghanistan, once the world’s biggest supplier, has plunged since the Taliban banned the plant’s cultivation a year ago, according to a UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported that established opium cultivation had dropped countrywide to a mere 26,700 acres in 2023, compared with 575,756 acres the year before, with supply down 95% to a measly 333 tons.

So, what else can the Taliban trade? The OEC 2022 report suggested Afghanistan exported that year  Coal Briquettes ($337M), Raw Cotton ($193M), Grapes ($156M), Insect Resins ($126M), and Nuts ($113M).

In 2022, Afghanistan was the world’s biggest importer of Wheat Flour ($843M).

Afghanistan’s annual per capita income is $1,680 (Russia’s is $35,540, Israel’s $49,000).


There’s one more important point about Afghanistan which is its unused natural resources the Russians and everyone else would like to lay their hands on. The country’s natural resources include coal, copper, iron ore, lithium, uranium, rare earth elements, chromite, gold, zinc, talc, barite, sulfur, lead, marble, precious and semi-precious stones, natural gas, and petroleum. In 2010, US and Afghan government officials estimated that untapped mineral deposits located by a US Geological Survey are worth at least $1 trillion.

On May 15, the same Kabulov broke the news that the Taliban was no longer an enemy of Russia.

“I don’t mean to say that the Taliban are our number one friends but, obviously, they are not enemies. The Taliban openly say that they trust Russia as the former Soviet Union’s successor,” Kabulov said.

“The Taliban are former mujahids who fought against the Soviet army and the former Afghan regime that was supported by the Soviet Union. Having fought against other foreign troops, they came to the conclusion that the Soviet Union not only waged a war in Afghanistan but also built. And that the Soviet Union had no expansionist plans. Yes, the Soviet Union had its specific worldviews, which ran counter to Afghanistan’s traditional views. The Taliban consider that our actions were wrong but they give credit to the real contribution to Afghanistan’s modernization made by the Society Union,” he said.

On May 24, Alexander Bortnikov, director of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) told a CIS security meeting in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, that the radical Taliban movement (banned in Russia) is fully capable of restoring order in Afghanistan, assuming external actors do not meddle in its affairs.

“The Afghan authorities are actively working on normalizing the situation, they’re countering against odious terrorist organizations, seeking to strengthen external borders to reduce the infiltration of militants from regional conflict zones. They are in dialogue with us – I am speaking about the special services of the CIS,” the FSB director said.

“On the other hand, we see persistent attempts by the Anglo-Saxons to influence the situation in Afghanistan. Hence their intentions to gain a foothold in Central Asia by any means and use this platform to influence the entire region,” he added.

Those damned Anglo-Saxons…

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