The government of Kazakhstan has decided it is ready for talks with the Islamis Taliban movement controlling much of Afghanistan in a key change of policy toward a group it has long opposed, a Reuters news agency reported on Monday. Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev announced the move during a visit to the Kazakh capital Astana by Pakistan’s military ruler General Pervez Musharraf. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the only countries to recognise the Taliban as the national authority in Afghanistan. “Kazakhstan is willing to establish contacts and hold talks with representatives of all movements and groups in Afghanistan, including the Taliban”, Reuters quoted Nazarbayev as saying.
In a news briefing later, Kazakh Foreign Minister Nurlan Idrisov said the softer line was based on pragmatism. “Kazakhstan has no allergy towards any single group... in Afghanistan. All we want to see is a government which can bring the country to peace, and bring it into the international community as a fully-fledged member”, Idrisov added.
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