Beijing: China on Monday expressed hope that the Taliban will stand by its commitment of establishing an open and inclusive Islamic government in Afghanistan and will ensure a peaceful transition of power without violence and terrorism.
Commenting for the first time on the sudden and rapid takeover of the Afghanistan government by the Taliban insurgents, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying in a media briefing here expressed hope that the Taliban will abide by its commitment to ensure a peaceful transition of power, taking full responsibility for the safety of Afghan citizens and foreign diplomatic missions.
Taliban insurgents swept Kabul on Sunday after the US-backed Afghan government collapsed and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, bringing an unprecedented end to a two-decade campaign in which the US and its allies had tried to transform the war-ravaged nation.
While most of the embassies in Kabul including that of the US, India and EU countries rushed to evacuate its diplomatic staff, Hua said the Chinese Embassy is up and running with its ambassador and some staff.
However, most of the Chinese nationals have already been evacuated from Afghanistan, she said.
“The situation in Afghanistan has experienced major changes. We respect Afghanistan’s people’s will and choice,” Hua said.
“The war in Afghanistan has lasted over 40 years. To stop the war and realise peace is the wish of the 30 million Afghan people and the aspiration of the international community and regional countries,” she said.
“We noticed the statement from Afghan Taliban yesterday (Sunday) saying that the war is over and they will start consultation on establishment of an open and inclusive Islamic government and take the responsibility of safety of Afghan citizens and foreign diplomatic corps,” the spokesperson said.
“We hope this will be implemented to ensure a peaceful transition, stop violence and terrorism, and make sure people are free from war and build their new home,” Hua said.
Replying to a question on when will China recognise the Taliban government and whether any condition is attached to it, Hua said on the basis of fully respecting Afghanistan’s national sovereignty and the will of all parties, Beijing has been maintaining contact and communication with Afghan Taliban and playing a constructive role in promoting a political settlement.
Recalling last month’s China visit of the Taliban delegation led by its Political Commission Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and his talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Hua said, We hope the Afghan Taliban will be united with other parties and with all nations and build a political framework in keeping with national conditions that is broadly inclusive and will lay the foundation for enduring peace.
She also emphasised Taliban’s assurance to Wang that it will not permit anti-China forces, that is, the Uygur Islamic militants of East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which is fighting for the separation of China’s volatile Xinjiang province.
According to a recent UN report, hundreds of militants of ETIM, which is affiliated to Al Qaeda terror outfit, are converging in Afghanistan amid the military advances made by the Taliban in the country.
Xinjiang shares borders with Afghanistan, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK), besides Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
Referring to Taliban’s assurances, Hua said the Afghan Taliban has repeatedly said that they wanted to develop a good relationship with China and hope that Beijing will take part in the reconstruction and development of the nation.
She said the Afghan Taliban has assured that it “will never allow any forces to use the country (Afghanistan) to harm China.
We welcome that and we have always respected the county’s sovereignty and independence and integrity. We do not interfere in internal affairs and our friendship is for all the people of Afghanistan. We respect people’s independence (and) choice and we continue to develop friendly relations and play a constructive role in peace and reconstruction, Hua said.