China Ducks Question On Taliban’s Invitation To Government Inauguration

Beijing, Israel , Sep 6 (PTI): The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday did not respond to a media report claiming that the Taliban has invited China, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, Iran and Qatar to attend the new government formation ceremony in Afghanistan.
China is already coordinating its evolving policy on Afghanistan with its “all-weather ally” Pakistan and Russia which also share borders with Afghanistan.

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 terrorists of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) fighting for the independence of Xinjiang, regrouping in Afghanistan under the rule of the Afghan terrorist 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.