Russian envoy derides US claim of arming Taliban

Russia's envoy for Afghanistan says both the Taliban and Moscow are deriding Washington's claims that Russia has been arming the extremist movement.

Zamir Kabulov said representatives of Russia and the Taliban laughed at the allegations during their conversations, with the Taliban saying they illegally buy all the weapons they need from the Afghan government and police and just need money for that. He added that Russian negotiators jokingly said: "Sorry, we have no money."

Kabulov told Thursday's briefing in Moscow that Russia's contacts with the Taliban aim to ensure the safety of Russian citizens in Afghanistan and encourage the Taliban to join peace talks.

He emphasized it's impossible to achieve peace in Afghanistan without engaging the Taliban, voicing hope they could join a new round of negotiations hosted by Russia.