| GEO World|
| Russia open to moderate Taliban contacts|
| Updated at: 1534 PST, Wednesday, March 25, 2009|
MOSCOW: Russia backs the idea of talks between Afghanistan's government and moderate elements of the Taliban, a senior Russian diplomat told a news agency on Wednesday.
U.S. President Barack Obama said in a newspaper interview published on March 7 that he was open to the idea of reaching out to moderate elements of the Taliban in Afghanistan, where insurgent violence is at its highest since U.S.-led forces ousted the militant Islamist movement in late 2001.
"If the leadership of Afghanistan considers the establishment of contacts with the moderate wing of the Taliban movement necessary, the Russian side would not object to this on condition that they lay down their arms, recognize the constitution and the government of Afghanistan and renounce ties with Al-Qaeda", Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin told.
The United States is expected to release a review of its own policy towards Afghanistan on March 27.