Chinese officials and Taliban meet in Tianjin as US exits Afghanistan

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By Eric Cheung and Ben Westcott, CNN

China’s Foreign Minister met with elder leaders of the Taliban successful the bluish Chinese metropolis of Tianjin connected Wednesday successful the latest motion of warming ties betwixt Beijing and the resurgent Islamist group.

During a gathering with Taliban’s co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who heads the group’s governmental committee, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi described the Taliban arsenic an important subject and governmental unit successful Afghanistan, and that helium expected the Taliban to play an important relation successful the country’s “peace, reconciliation and reconstruction process,” according to China’s Foreign Ministry.

Following the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban has rapidly expanded its beingness — and present controls ample swathes of country. The velocity astatine which Afghan information forces person mislaid power to the Taliban has shocked many, and led to concerns the superior Kabul could beryllium adjacent to fall. All overseas forces are expected to permission Afghanistan by August 31.

Wednesday’s meeting, which was besides attended by the heads of the Taliban’s spiritual and publicity committees, is the latest determination by the Chinese authorities to strengthen its relationship with the Islamist group.

Beijing has invested heavy successful Central Asia successful caller years done its Belt and Road commercialized and infrastructure scheme, and China’s Foreign Ministry has antecedently discussed the anticipation of extending the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) into Afghanistan.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Wang referred to Afghanistan arsenic China’s largest neighbor, and emphasized the destiny of the state should beryllium “in the hands of the Afghan people.”

Wang said the withdrawal of American and NATO troops from Afghanistan nether US President Joe Biden marked the “failure of the US’ argumentation towards Afghanistan,” arsenic good arsenic an accidental for the state to stabilize and develop.

“(China) respects Afghanistan’s sovereign independency and territorial integrity, (and) ever insists connected non-interference successful Afghanistan’s interior affairs,” Wang said.

For its part, the Islamist radical told the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post successful aboriginal July that it considered China a “welcome friend.”

Wang besides mentioned the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) which helium called an “international violent organization,” and said the Taliban should “completely sever each ties” with the radical to beforehand determination stability.

The Chinese authorities has regularly accused the ETIM of readying and undertaking violent attacks successful Xinjiang, accusations it has utilized to warrant its wide crackdown successful the Western region.

Speaking successful India connected Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said some Washington and New Delhi had a “strong involvement successful a peaceful, unafraid and unchangeable Afghanistan” and described the Taliban’s subject advances arsenic “deeply troubling.”

Blinken added that the US and its partners would proceed to enactment unneurotic to “sustain the gains of the Afghan radical and enactment determination stableness aft the withdrawal of conjugation forces from the country.”

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CNN’s Beijing bureau contributed to this article.

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