When the Taliban swept over Afghanistan, Russia was ready for the rapid developments after working methodically for years to lay the groundwork for relations with the group that it still officially considers a terrorist organization.
The Soviet Union fought a 10-year war in Afghanistan that ended when it withdrew its troops in 1989.
Since then, Moscow has made a comeback as an influential power broker in international talks on Afghanistan.
It has worked continuously to cultivate ties with the Taliban, hosting representatives of the group for a series of meetings.
The Taliban has been listed by Russia as a terrorist organization since 2003. Despite that designation, Moscow has several contracts on the books with the Taliban. The Russian Foreign Ministry has explained that contradiction by explaining that such negotiations are essential for international efforts to stabilize Afghanistan.
Russia has also not yet evacuated its embassy in Kabul. Russia's ambassador to Kabul met with the Taliban for what he described as “constructive talks” after they took over Kabul, agreeing that they will protect the embassy.