US special advisor to Afghanistan plans Moscow trip as Taliban gains ground – Kremlin After years of struggle against the Taliban in Afghanistan, US special adviser Zalmay Khalilzad is planning to visit Russia to discuss a peace settlement, his Russian counterpart Zamir Kabulov said on Monday.

“I’ve known Khalilzad for a long time. We’ll meet again – he is planning to visit us,” Kabulov told reporters, that the parties may discuss the launch of direct talks between the US-backed government in Kabul and the Taliban if Khalilzad is “ready to do it.”

The Russian official stressed that Moscow supports the “regionalist approach” to a peace settlement in the war-torn nation and doesn’t seek competition with the US in Afghanistan, but at the same time can’t just stand by and “idly observe” the ongoing deterioration of the situation on the ground.

A Taliban delegation recently flew to Moscow to hold separate discussions on the ways to end the conflict in the country.

In recent years, US officials became more receptive to the idea of direct peace talks with the Taliban.

“This is not going to be won militarily. This is going to a political solution,” General Austin S. Miller, who lead the NATO mission in Afghanistan, last week. Khalilzad, meanwhile, reportedly with Taliban officials in Qatar last month.

Despite the US’ decade-long efforts to quell the militants, Afghanistan has seen an upsurge in Taliban activity in recent years. The US government’s own estimates that the Washington-backed government in Kabul has uncontested control of just over 57 percent of the country, while a recent study that the jihadists are “openly active” in about 70 percent of the nation.

Heroin production has skyrocketed, and frequent terror attacks continue to claim the lives of Afghan servicemen and civilians.

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