The Taliban has accepted an invitation to attend talks on Afghanistan in Moscow, according to Russia's foreign minister.
Sergey Lavrov said Russia has invited the Taliban to the September 4 talks and received a positive response, voicing hope for "productive" negotiations.
Mr Lavrov reaffirmed that Russia's contacts with the Taliban aim to ensure the safety of Russian citizens in Afghanistan and encourage the Taliban to abandon hostilities and engage in a dialogue with the government.
Russia's foreign ministry also strongly rejected the claim by Afghan Ambassador to Moscow, Abdul Qayyum Kochai, who said that Russia hopes to use the Taliban to combat the Islamic State group.
It hailed the Afghan government's offer of a holiday ceasefire, adding that the Taliban's apparent rejection of it is regrettable.