Chinese Foreign Minister’s sudden stay in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — China’s foreign minister made a surprise stop in Kabul on Thursday to meet Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers, even as the international community called for girls from grade 6 onwards a day earlier. Expressed displeasure over the broken promise of the radical movement to open the school.

The official Bakhtar news agency announced that Wang Yi would meet with Taliban leaders “to discuss a variety of issues, including expanding political ties, economic and transit cooperation.”

The Taliban, which came to power last August marking a chaotic end to a 20-year war by the US and NATO coalition, is seeking international recognition for opening up its economy, which has been in free fall since their arrival.

China has shown no inclination to recognize the Taliban government, but it has refrained from criticizing the new rulers, denying them unhindered access to work and school, despite their repressive rules specifically directed at women. Is.

However, China has kept its embassy in Kabul open and offered limited emergency aid.

The US-led coalition ousted the Taliban in 2001 after refusing to hand over al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US. They returned to power and installed an all-male Taliban-only interim government. The international community has been urging him to open government to ethnic minorities, non-Talibans and women.

Wang is one of the highest level visitors to Afghanistan since the withdrawal of the Taliban. China, refusing to recognize it, has been at odds with the Taliban since its takeover. China has economic and mining interests in Afghanistan and Afghans familiar with past talks between the Taliban and Chinese officials say Beijing wants a Taliban commitment to prevent China’s Uighur adversaries from setting up operations in Afghanistan.

However, last July, Wang hosted a delegation of the group led by top Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar in the Chinese city of Tianjin, shortly before the group seized power from Afghanistan’s elected government.

At that meeting, Wang sought assurances that the Taliban would not allow anti-China groups to operate under his rule and referred to the group as “a significant military and political force in Afghanistan”. He said he is expected to “play a key role in the process of peace, reconciliation and reconstruction.”

There have been reports that militants of the Turkic Muslim Uighur minority, native to China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang, have taken refuge in Afghanistan. China has launched a campaign of repression against Uighurs and other Muslim minorities, including the detention of a million or more in political re-education camps.

The overseas East Turkistan Islamic Movement has fought low-level insurgency against Chinese rule for years.

It has been linked with an Islamic State affiliate known as Islamic State in Khorazan province, which is an enemy of the Taliban, but its current operational status is not known.

Despite frequent and documented reports of Uighur actions by Beijing, Wang was welcomed as a special guest at a summit of foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in neighboring Pakistan this week.

There Wang called for talks to end the war in Ukraine. None of the OIC participants or host Pakistan, which has been particularly vocal about growing Islamophobia, mentioned China’s crackdown on its minority Muslims. This includes the destruction of mosques and punishment for Uighurs who participate in religious orders.

China is also interested in stability in Afghanistan, as it has been used as a base for insurgent attacks against its citizens in neighboring Pakistan. It also has a multi-billion dollar road project connecting Gwadar port in the Arabian Sea in Pakistan to China in the northwest.

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Associated Press writers Tamim Akhgar in Islamabad and Christopher Bowden in Beijing contributed to this report.

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