Taliban Call for Russia-Ukraine Peace, Say They Fear for Civilians

The Taliban government of Afghanistan has called for peace between Russia and Ukraine and expressed concern over civilian casualties as Russian forces threatened the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Friday.

Afghanistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi issued a statement in English on Twitter on Friday morning urging a resolution to the crisis through "dialogue and peaceful means."

"The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine and expresses concern about real possibility of civilian casualties," the statement said.

"The Islamic Emirate calls for restraint by both parties. All sides need to desist from taking positions that could intensify violence," the Taliban said.

The statement went on: "The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, in line with its foreign policy of neutrality, calls on both sides of the conflict to resolve the crisis through dialogue and peaceful means.

"The Islamic Emirate also calls on parties to the conflict to pay attention to safeguarding the lives of Afghan students and migrants in Ukraine."

The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan following the final withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country in August 2021. The U.S. had invaded Afghanistan in 2001 following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

In January, the United Nations said it had received "credible allegations" that more than 100 former Afghan government officials, members of the security forces and people who worked with U.S. and allied forces had been killed since the Taliban takeover.

Russian forces had reportedly entered the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Friday morning and there are serious concerns that the city could fall within hours as the capital's citizens have been urged to use Molotov cocktails against Russian troops.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense wrote on Twitter: "We urge citizens to inform us of troop movements, to make Molotov cocktails, and neutralize the enemy."

"We ask citizens to inform about the movement of equipment! Make Molotov cocktails, neutralize the occupier!" the ministry said. "Peaceful residents—be careful! Do not leave the house!"

Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized what he described as a "special military operation" against Ukraine late on Wednesday U.S. time. The Ukrainian government has called the action a "full-scale invasion" and Ukrainian forces have been fiercely resisting the Russian advance.

Ukraine's Ministry of Defense also called on citizens to join the army, saying that age restrictions were being lifted.

"Today, Ukraine needs everything. All procedures for joining are simplified," the ministry tweeted. "Bring only your passport and identification number. There are no age restrictions."

Update 02/25/22 06.35 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include more information.

Ukrainian Soldier on Patrol
Ukrainian troops patrol at the frontline outside the town of Novoluhanske, eastern Ukraine, on February 19, 2022. The Taliban has called for dialogue between Russia and Ukraine. ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images