Russian media reports that the Kremlin's envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov told reporters in Moscow on October 7 that Russia will invite the Taliban to international talks on Afghanistan scheduled for October 20 in Moscow.

In response to a question from Russian journalists on whether representatives of the Taliban group would be invited to negotiations involving China, India, Iran and Pakistan, Kabulov replied in affirmative.

Kabulov did not specify which Taliban representatives would take part in the talks.

Kabulov was also asked whether Russia would deliver aid to Afghanistan, where the humanitarian crisis is growing worse, a top UN official warned on October 6.

Russia said it would deliver the promised aid, but the details were still being decided, Kabulov said.

"This is being worked out," he told journalists, saying "cargo" was being collected.

The talks will follow a G20 summit on Afghanistan on October 12 that will seek to help the country avoid a humanitarian catastrophe in the wake of the Taliban takeover.

France 24 reports that Moscow has moved to engage with the Taliban but stopped short of recognition of the group, which is banned as a terrorist organization in Russia.

Kabulov reportedly said on October 4 that Moscow would not “exclude” revising the UN sanctions regime against the Taliban.

"But at this stage we believe it is not expedient to rush," he said.

Russia has warned about members of extremist groups exploiting political turmoil in Afghanistan to cross into neighboring countries as refugees.

Russia launched the Moscow-format consultations in 2017 as part of its diplomatic efforts to press for political solution to the Afghan issue. The Moscow format was launched on the basis of the six-party mechanism for consultations between special representatives from Russia, Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Iran and India. 

The Moscow format meeting’s main objective is to facilitate the national reconciliation process in Afghanistan and secure peace in that country as soon as possible. 

The first round of the Moscow format consultations that took place on April 14, 2017 was attended by deputy foreign ministers and special representatives of 11 partner countries who are interested in achieving a settlement in Afghanistan. These countries include Russia, Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Iran, India, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. The representatives of the United States who were invited to take part in the meeting declined, saying that the new US administration lacked an Afghanistan strategy at the time.

The second round of the consultations was held in Moscow on September 4, 2018.  Unlike the previous round, it was co-chaired by both Russia and Afghanistan.  Invitations were sent to 12 countries, the US included. The leadership of the Taliban’s political office in Doha was also invited to take part in the meeting. 

The aim of the second meeting was to help narrow the gaps in the approaches taken by the Afghan government and the Taliban to launching a direct intra-Afghan dialogue.

Participants at the meeting focused on launching direct inter-Afghan dialogue aiming at stabilization of the country and “agreed to continue consultations within the framework of this mechanism," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a final communiqué following the meeting.

Din Mohammad Azizullah, head of the Afghan government delegation, confirmed that he had "brief talks" with the Taliban members at a working lunch, characterizing the talks as "friendly."

But Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, who led the Taliban group, reiterated that the Taliban does not see the current government in Kabul as legitimate.