Interfax: Liquidation of Taliban leader to hinder negotiations in Afghanistan – Russian Foreign Ministry

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MOSCOW. May 23 (Interfax) – The liquidation of Taliban movement leader Akhtar Mansoor will lead to further military escalation in Afghanistan, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“If this information is confirmed, it will seriously hinder the negotiating process,” Special Representative of the Russian President for Afghanistan, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second European Department Zamir Kabulov told Interfax.

It will also lead to military escalation in Afghanistan, as “field commanders of the Taliban keep on fighting, they will hardly give themselves in or reconcile,” he said.

Moscow does not possess definitive information about the liquidation of Mansoor, but “the probability of this fact is high,” Kabulov said.

In the opinion of the diplomat, the main candidate for Taliban leader is Sirajuddin Haqqani.

“Haqqani is ultra-radical. It will not be a picnic if he succeeds to Akhtar Mansoor,” Kabulov said.