The Russian embassy in Afghanistan said it was asked by the Taliban to help negotiate a deal between the last pro-Afghan government holdout in the country. The Panjshir Valley, which has aided U.S. forces in the past, remains the last region free of Taliban control. It is also the current refuge of Afghan government officials, including Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who claims to be the president after President Ashraf Ghani fled to the United Arab Emirates. Dmitry Zhirnov, the Russian ambassador, said he was asked by the militant group to reach out to officials in the valley and help both parties come to a settlement, as he said the Taliban would like to avoid any bloodshed. It continues Russia’s efforts to appeal to all sides, as it has maintained relationships with both the Afghan government and the Taliban in recent years.
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