China Skirts Answer to Question On Taliban Invite to New Afghan Govt Ceremony

The Chinese Foreign Ministry did not reply on Monday to a media report alleging that the Taliban has invited China, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Qatar to Afghanistan‘s new government formation ceremony. China is already coordinating its changing Afghanistan policy with its all-weather allies Pakistan and Russia, both of which share Afghanistan’s borders.

Beijing, which has kept its Embassy open in Kabul along with Pakistan and Russia, is awaiting the formation of a government by the Taliban to decide on recognising it amidst firm indications by the US, the UK and other western countries that they will not be in a hurry to endorse the new government in Kabul. Asked about a media report that the Taliban has invited China and five other countries — Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, Iran and Qatar — to participate in the new government formation ceremony in Afghanistan, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said: I have no information to offer at this moment.

He reiterated that China supports Afghanistan forming an open, inclusive, broadly-based government upholding moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policies and live in good terms with the neighbouring countries. China is also keeping a close watch on the Panjshir Valley fighting between the Taliban and the militias of Ahmad Massoud-led National Resistance Front (NRF) which has reportedly delayed the formation of the new government in Afghanistan.

On Saturday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a telephonic conversation with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian during which he said that new government in Afghanistan should be open and inclusive, make a clean break with terrorist organisations, and establish and develop good relations with other countries, especially neighbouring countries. Since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, China has been vocal in expressing its concern over the Uygur militants of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) fighting for the independence of Xinjiang, regrouping in Afghanistan under the rule of the Afghan militant group as the volatile province shares a narrow border with the war-ravaged country.

Beijing has already extracted a firm commitment from a Taliban delegation headed by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar during a visit to China in July that they will not permit the ETIM to operate from its soil. China, at the same time, is eyeing the extension of its USD 60 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan besides exploiting the mineral-rich mines there.

The Taliban has already said that China has a big role to play in Afghanistan in the reconstruction of the war-raved country. China is a big country with a huge economy and capacity. They can play a big role in rebuilding, reconstruction of Afghanistan, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told China’s state-run China Global Television Network in an interview recently.

We have relationship with China and Russia during the past years. We have told them they should not have any concern from Afghanistan, he added.

Pak’s Meeting With Iran, China

Pakistan on Sunday hosted a virtual meeting of the special representatives and envoys of Afghanistan‘s neighbouring countries, including China and Iran, during which the participants agreed that peace in the war-torn nation is crucial for security and stability of the region. The meeting chaired by Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq was attended by representatives of China, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, the Foreign Office said in a statement.

“During the meeting, views were exchanged on the latest situation in Afghanistan,” it said. Ambassador Sadiq, welcoming his counterparts, highlighted the importance of evolving a regional approach to address common challenges and to realise the new opportunities arising from a stable Afghanistan, it said.

He added that a prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan would provide impetus to economic integration, strong people-to-people linkages, enhanced trade, and regional connectivity. “Colleagues from Iran, China, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, were unanimous that peace in Afghanistan is vital for security, stability and prosperity of the entire region,” Sadiq said.

With inputs from PTI.

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