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China, Taliban hold their first dialogue in Kabul

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China has established its first diplomatic contact with the Taliban in Kabul after the militant group took control of Afghanistan and the two sides now have “unimpeded and effective communication”, a Chinese official said on Wednesday.

The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan on August 15, two weeks before the United States was set to complete its troop withdrawal after a costly two-decade war.

 

“China and the Afghan Taliban have unimpeded and effective communication and consultation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing in Beijing when asked about the talks between the deputy head of the Taliban’s political office Abdul Salam Hanafi and Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan Wang Yu in Kabul.

“Kabul is naturally an important platform and channel for us to discuss key issues,” Wang said, without disclosing the details.

“China respects the Afghan people’s independent decision on their own future and destiny, supports the implementation of the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned principle, and stands ready to continue to develop good-neighbourly relations of friendship and cooperation with Afghanistan and play a constructive role in the peace and reconstruction of the country,” he said.

China along with Pakistan and Russia kept its embassy open in Kabul while India, the US and other countries closed down their diplomatic missions after the Taliban took control of Kabul on August 15.

Since the Taliban entry into Kabul which had caught the world by surprise resulting in large scale evacuations by the US and its allies, China which had hosted a Taliban delegation headed by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar last month remained calm and called for an inclusive government in Kabul.

In his talks with Baradar, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had asked the militant group to sever its links with terror groups especially the Uygur Muslim militant group from Xinjiang, the East Turkistan Islamic Movement.

Baradar reportedly assured Wang that the Taliban will not permit the ETIM from operating from Afghanistan and called for Chinese investments in the war-torn country.

After the Taliban took control of Kabul, China called for the formation of an open, inclusive, and broadly representative government adopting moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policies and conform to the aspiration of its people and the common expectation of the international community.

Last month, China had replaced its special envoy to Afghanistan Liu Jian with its former Ambassador to Qatar, Jordan and Ireland, Yue Xiao Yong.