BEIJING: China on Wednesday said it will decide on extending diplomatic recognition to the Taliban in Afghanistan only after the formation of the government in the country, which it hoped would be “open, inclusive and broadly representative”.
“China’s position on the Afghan issue is consistent and clear,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here answering a question when will China accord diplomatic recognition to the Taliban insurgents, which has taken control of Afghanistan.
“If we have to recognise a government, the first thing is that we will need to wait until the government is formed,” he said.
“We hope there will be an open, inclusive and broadly representative regime in Afghanistan. Only after that, we will come to the question of diplomatic recognition,” he said.
He also reiterated China’s stand that besides forming an “open and inclusive” government in consultations with other factions, the Taliban must also keep its word not to permit any terrorist forces, especially the Uygur militant group from Xinjiang province- the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM).
About Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid’s press conference in Kabul where he announced general amnesty to all those who worked for the Afghan government and respect the rights of women “within the framework of Islamic law”, Zhao said the restoration of peace is the most imperative task for the militant group.
“We have noted the statement from the Afghan Taliban. We hope it will work with other factions at home through dialogue and consultation and establish an inclusive and open political framework and adopt moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policy and ensure that personnel and institutions of other countries in Afghanistan will be safe,” Zhao said.
“At the same time, we hope the Afghan Taliban will firmly fight the terrorist forces including the ETIM and earnestly implement its commitment not to allow any force to use the Afghan territory to engage in terrorist acts detrimental to China,” he said.
The ETIM, which is stated to be an affiliate of al-Qaeda, is a militant group from China”s volatile Xinjiang province. It is fighting for the independence of the province, which is home to over 10-million Uygur Muslims.
The UNSC al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee has listed ETIM as a terrorist organisation in 2002.
The former Trump administration had removed the group from the US” list of terrorist organisations in 2020 amid allegations of human rights violations against Uygur Muslims by China in Xinjiang, including interning thousands of them in mass detention centres, which Beijing terms as education camps.
The US has termed China”s security crackdown in Xinjiang as genocide against Uygur Muslims.
China is also insisting on the Taliban to ensure that the ETIM does not function from Afghanistan’s soil targeting Xinjiang as a precondition for the recognition of its government in Kabul.
The Taliban delegation, headed by the head of its Political Commission Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, which visited China last month during its talks with the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had promised not to permit the ETIM to function from Afghanistan.
According to a recent UN report, hundreds of militants belonging to the ETIM are converging in Afghanistan amidst the military advances made by the Taliban.
About the Taliban’s promise to respect women’s rights, Zhao said the situation in Afghanistan has experienced major changes.
“We respect the will and choice of Afghan people. The most imperative task at hand is to restore peace and stability and order as soon as possible and to prevent unnecessary casualties” resulting in a large-scale refugee population, he said.
“The safety and interests of Afghan and foreign nationals, diplomatic missions in Afghanistan must be respected and guaranteed,” Zhao said.
He said China hopes that the “Afghan Taliban will work with other factions and ethnic groups in solidarity and establish a political framework that is open, inclusive in keeping with national conditions”.
About China’s participation in the reconstruction of war-torn Afghanistan, he said “as a friendly and close neighbour and friend of Afghanistan, China always upholds a friendly policy towards the entire Afghan people which will never change.”
“We will continue to support peaceful reconstruction in Afghanistan and to the best of our capability assist Afghanistan in its economic and social development,” he said.