Taliban officials have canceled their reported plans to hold an inauguration event on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that spurred the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, according to a top Russian official.
“There simply will be no inauguration,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday, per state media. “I think it is an obvious problem that [the Taliban] are still undecided about what they should do first.”
Russia was one of several countries reportedly invited to the militant group’s inauguration ceremony, previously expected to occur on Saturday.
Russian state media chortled at the timing. “The Talibs are good not only at generating memes but also at trolling,” tweeted RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan.
But Lavrov adopted a tone of tart condescension toward the militants as he stipulated Russian officials never intended to send a high-level delegation to Kabul.
“[The Taliban] announced the inauguration. Later, they revised these plans,” Lavrov said. “Frankly speaking, we never planned to recommend our leadership to be represented by a delegation from Moscow at the inauguration ceremony. From the very beginning, we thought that the ambassador would be quite enough to represent us there, taking into account the development of the situation.”
Taliban officials reportedly claimed they’re skipping the inauguration to focus on governing.
"The inauguration ceremony of the new Afghan government was canceled a few days ago,” Taliban cultural commission member Inamullah Samangani was quoted as writing on Twitter. "In order not to confuse people further, the leadership of the Islamic Emirate announced the part of the Cabinet, and it has already started to work.”
Other reports suggest Russia urged the Taliban not to hold the event on Sept. 11, although these are not confirmed. Lavrov said the Taliban “change their plans every day, including concerning the inclusiveness of the political process.”
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Original Author: Joel Gehrke