Russia said on Tuesday that the Taliban had accepted an invitation for talks next month, in what promises to be one of the insurgent group’s biggest diplomatic forays since the 2001 US-led invasion.

The announcement of the planned talks comes as the Taliban have expanded their footprint across Afghanistan and launched an unrelenting wave of attacks, including a prolonged assault on Ghazni, a strategic city near Kabul, earlier this month.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow invited the Taliban to the Sept 4 talks and was hoping for “productive” negotiations. “The first reaction was positive, they are planning to take part in the meeting,” he added.

There was no immediate comment from the Taliban.

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