China’s foreign minister meets Taliban’s acting deputy PM in Qatar

Beijing, Oct 26 (EFE).- China’s foreign minister Wang Yi has met with the acting deputy prime minister of the Afghan Taliban’s interim government in Doha, Beijing’s state-run news agency Xinhua reported Tuesday.

During his meeting with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar on Monday, Wang Yi said that Afghanistan faces “a historic opportunity to truly master its own destiny, achieve reconciliation and tolerance, and advance national reconstruction.”

Wang cited the multiple challenges facing the Central Asian country, including “the humanitarian crisis, economic chaos, terrorist threats and governance difficulties” and added that Afghanistan “requires more understanding and support from the international community” in order to overcome them.

The foreign minister also urged the Taliban to “adopt a friendly policy” towards its neighboring countries while reminding them that the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a Muslim separatist group in China’s northwest Xinjiang region, is classified as a terrorist group by the United Nations and said that he “hopes and believes that the Afghan Taliban will make a clean break with the ETIM and other terrorist organizations.”

Baradar, one of the leaders of the Taliban movement, assured Wang that Afghanistan “is under control” and that the current government “is working hard to meet the needs of the people.”

The Afghan acting deputy PM told the Chinese minister that most of the former regime’s officials have remained in office and that the authorities “will continue to take inclusive measures” to form a “more representative” government.

According to Baradar, the Taliban are redoubling efforts “to protect the rights and interests of women and children” and “will not deprive them of the rights to education and work.”

In September-end, the main members of the interim Taliban government met with special envoys from Russia, China and Pakistan.

This was the first meeting of its kind since the group announced the key portfolios of its new government on Sep. 7 after seizing control of Kabul in mid-August.

China has kept its embassy in Afghanistan operational while urging the Taliban to form an open, inclusive Islamic government, according to the country’s foreign ministry spokespersons, suggesting that China will evaluate its performance before recognizing it.

Wang had already met a Taliban delegation in the northeastern Chinese city of Tianjin at the end of July, a meeting in which he described the group as a “crucial military and political force” in Afghanistan.

Since then, China has provided humanitarian aid to Afghanistan in the form of food, Covid-19 vaccines and clothing and has taken advantage of the situation to slam Washington’s foreign policy while also seeking to protect its investment projects in Central Asia and prevent the spread of regional terrorism.

China’s priority is to avoid being affected by the hostilities in Afghanistan, with which it shares a short 60-kilometer (37 miles) long border in Xinjiang, home to a number of Muslim minority ethnic groups, where several attacks have been registered in recent decades. EFE


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