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China can play huge role in Afghanistan’s development: Taliban spokesman

Taliban spokesman speaks to Chinese state media.
Says China can play a major role in country’s reconstruction.
“China is a big country with a huge economy and capacity,” says Suhail Shaheen in CGTN interview.

BEIJING: China has played a constructive role in promoting peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and is welcome to contribute to the country’s rebuilding process, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Chinese state media. 

The Taliban spokesman made these remarks in his first interaction with the Chinese media after the Taliban took control over Kabul, earlier this week.

“China is a big country with a huge economy and capacity – I think they can play a very big role in the rebuilding, rehabilitation, reconstruction of Afghanistan,” Shaheen told CGTN television, in an interview late on Thursday.

During Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s meeting with a Taliban delegation in Tianjin last month, the Chinese envoy said he hoped Afghanistan could adopt a moderate policy.

In dealing with the Taliban, an increasingly powerful China may be able to leverage the fact that unlike Russia and the United States, it has not fought in Afghanistan before. 

China hopes Taliban will follow through positive statements

Earlier in the day, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said that Beijing maintains contact and communication with the Afghan Taliban and other parties on the basis of full respect for the sovereignty of Afghanistan and the will of all parties.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying had told a press briefing that China encourages and hopes that the Afghan Taliban can follow through its positive statements, unite with all parties and ethnic groups in Afghanistan, establish a broad-based, inclusive political framework that fits the national conditions and wins public support through dialogue and consultation as soon as possible, and adopt moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policies.

Noting that nothing stays unchanged, Hua had said that while understanding and handling problems, we should adopt a holistic, interconnected and developmental dialectical approach, and look at both the past and the present. We need to not only listen to what they say, but also look at what they do.

“If we do not keep pace with the times, but stick to a fixed mindset and ignore the development of the situation, we will never reach a conclusion that is in line with reality,” Hua had said.

Wang Yi for close Pakistan-China coordination

Meanwhile, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had called for strengthening coordination between Pakistan and China on the Afghan issue to support a stable power transition in the country and peace in the region.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, political chief of Afghanistan’s Taliban, in north China’s Tianjin on July 28. Li Ran/Xinhua via Getty Images

“As responsible neighbours to Afghanistan, China and Pakistan need to strengthen communication and coordination to support a stable transition in the country, and play constructive roles in maintaining regional peace and stability,” Wang Yi had made these remarks during a phone conversation with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, according to a press release issued by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday.

Wang Yi had said that the two countries should encourage all Afghan parties to strengthen solidarity, and establish a new broad-based and inclusive political structure that is suited to the Afghan national conditions.

“China and Pakistan should also support Afghanistan in its fight against terrorism, to prevent the country from becoming a hotbed for terrorism again, he had added.

He had said that the Chinese and Pakistani embassies in Afghanistan are still functioning normally, and the two sides should communicate to the Taliban to ensure the safety of Chinese and Pakistani personnel and institutions in Afghanistan.

The two countries using their unique role as neighbours, should promote international cooperation involving Afghanistan in an orderly manner and promote the situation in Afghanistan gradually into a virtuous circle, he had added.

Ahmed Mukhtar Naqshbandi

Media person and communication expert for over 25 years. Worked with Dow Jones News, World Bank, CNBC Pakistan, Aaj TV, ARY TV, Abbtakk TV, Business Recorder, Pakistan Observer, Online News Network, TTI Magazine and other local and world Publications.

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