Key role seen for China in en­sur­ing Afghan sta­bil­ity

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By AN BAIJIE an­bai­jie@chi­

Bei­jing’s re­cent re­cep­tion of a se­nior Afghan mil­i­tary of­fi­cer and the re­ported visit by a Tal­iban del­e­ga­tion show that China is play­ing an im­por­tant role in main­tain­ing sta­bil­ity in the re­gion, an­a­lysts said.

While meet­ing in Bei­jing on Sun­day with Qadam Shah Shahim, chief of staff of the Gen­eral Staff of the Afghan Na­tional Army, De­fense Min­is­ter Chang Wan­quan ex­pressed grat­i­tude to­ward Afghanistan for the coun­try’s sup­port in fight­ing the ter­ror­ist East Turkestan Is­lamic Move­ment, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment re­leased by the min­istry on Sun­day.

Shahim said Afghanistan would like to deepen co­op­er­a­tion with China in fight­ing ter­ror­ists in­clud­ing the East Turkestan Is­lamic Move­ment, the state­ment said.

Ac­cord­ing to a Reuters report, a del­e­ga­tion led by Ab­bas Stanikzai, head of the Tal­iban’s po­lit­i­cal of­fice in Qatar, vis­ited Bei­jing from July 18 to 22 at the in­vi­ta­tion of the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment.

The report, quot­ing a se­nior mem­ber of the Tal­iban, said the Tal­iban del­e­ga­tion “in­formed Chi­nese of­fi­cials about the oc­cu­pa­tion by in­vad­ing forces and their atroc­i­ties on the Afghan peo­ple”.

The For­eign Min­istry did not re­spond, as of press time on Mon­day night, to China Daily’s re­quest for con­fir­ma­tion of the Tal­iban del­e­ga­tion’s visit.

As China’s close neigh­bor, Afghanistan plays an im­por­tant role in jointly fight­ing Is­lamist ex­trem­ists, an is­sue re­lated to the sta­bil­ity of China’s Xin­jiang Uygur au­tonomous re­gion.

Jin Yong, deputy chief of the School of For­eign Stud­ies at Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Univer­sity of China, said that through con­nect­ing with both the rul­ing party of Afghanistan and its op­po­si­tion, China is tak­ing a more prag­matic diplo­matic ap­proach to pur­su­ing na­tional in­ter­ests.

Afghanistan is a key sta­tion on the route of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, the China raised pro­posal to re­vive the an­cient trade route of the Silk Road, so it’s nec­es­sary for China to com­mu­ni­cate with the coun­try’s dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal forces to en­sure im­ple­men­ta­tion of the ini­tia­tive, he said.

Dif­fer­ent Afghan po­lit­i­cal groups are seek­ing sup­port from China, show­ing that China’s in­flu­ence in the re­gion is quite im­por­tant, he added.

Li Wei­jian, a re­searcher of for­eign pol­icy stud­ies at the Shang­hai In­sti­tutes for In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies, said that un­like the United States, which la­beled the Tal­iban as a ter­ror­ist group, China can have talks with both the Tal­iban and the Afghan gov­ern­ment.

The mod­er­ate fac­tions in the Tal­iban could be an im­por­tant force for the peace­ful res­o­lu­tion of Afghan prob­lems, he added.

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