China Bosses Around the Taliban: Keep ‘Friendly Relations’ with Neighbor Beijing

China's foreign minister Wang Yi attends a press conference at Media Center on March 8, 2017 in Beijing, China. In May 2017, Beijing held the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF), There will be more than 20 heads of state and heads of state, attended by more than …
Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

China expects Afghanistan’s Taliban terror group to “be committed to friendly relations with all neighboring countries,” according to remarks made by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during a joint press conference with Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin in Dushanbe on Wednesday.

“China expects Afghanistan to establish a broadly inclusive political arrangement, pursue a solid Muslim policy, resolutely combat all terrorism and extremist ideologies, and be committed to friendly relations with all neighboring countries,” Wang said on July 14.

The Chinese foreign minister’s comments come in the wake of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan following a nearly two-decade-long joint military operation in the country alongside North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) troops. The War in Afghanistan launched in late 2001, with the U.S. ousting the Taliban from Afghanistan’s government. The Taliban has already reclaimed control over about 85 percent of the country amid the ongoing U.S. and NATO troop exit, scheduled to finish by August 31. Wang’s press conference speech on Wednesday indicated that Beijing hopes to see the jihadist terror group reassume authority over Afghanistan’s government.

“[The] Taliban, as a major military force in Afghanistan, should realize the responsibilities it bears for the nation, make a clean break with all terrorist forces and return to the mainstream of Afghan politics,” Wang said in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe on July 14.

China’s foreign minister on Wednesday “urged the US to reflect on its role on Afghan issue and how it will meet its obligations for Afghanistan’s reconciliation and reconstruction,” according to China’s state-run Global Times.

Foreign Minister Wang visited his Tajik counterpart in Dushanbe on Wednesday as part of a trip to Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan from July 12-16. Wang is scheduled to meet with each country’s foreign minister this week as part of an official Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)-sponsored tour. Beijing sent its top diplomat to visit the three Central Asian countries bordering Afghanistan to address an emerging security threat emanating from the war-ravaged nation, which is located at the crossroads of South and Central Asia. Afghan civilians and government soldiers are reportedly fleeing Afghanistan for Central Asia as the Taliban terror group reconquers most of the country and reimplements sharia, or Islamic law.

“Tajik authorities say that two-thirds of the 1,357-kilometer border with Afghanistan is under Taliban control and they are preparing for an influx of refugees to enter the country. They say they are already providing Afghan refugees with food and shelter,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported July 7.

Tajikistan’s government on July 7 urged Moscow to help secure the Tajik-Afghan border as promised in a 2013 Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) agreement. The CSTO is a Russian-led military alliance of former Soviet republics. It is similar to the SCO, which serves as an eastern counterweight to NATO. Both Beijing and Moscow lead the SCO, which unites Central and South Asia in one security and economic bloc. The organization includes Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, and India, in addition to leading members China and Russia.


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