(TibetanReview.net, Sep09’21) – China has thrown in its lot with the militant Islamic Taliban group which has overthrown the democratic government of Afghanistan following the withdrawal of NATO Forces led by the USA. It has indicated recognition and promised emergency humanitarian aid and Covid-19 vaccines to the Taliban government.
Both sides had been speaking well of each other in recent days, with China’s eyes clearly set on Afghanistan’s trillion-dollar worth of mineral resources and the latter expressing interest in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a major Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project.
The development is clearly a bad news for Uyghurs living in Afghanistan as China will definitely seek the repatriation of those in its bad books, something it has been pursuing with other countries already.
China`s Foreign Ministry on Sep 8 announced USD 31 million aid to Afghanistan, endorsing the new caretaker “Islamic Emirate” government of the Taliban. spokesperson Hua Chunyin has said the decision was announced during the first meeting of the foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries and would be “for emergency use to the Afghan people.”
The almost USD 31 million worth of aid would be for food, winter weather supplies, vaccines, and medicine to the now Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
China’s official Xinhua news agency also cited Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi as announcing Beijing will donate 3 million vaccine doses to Afghanistan in the first batch.
The report said Wang also wanted the US to “assume their responsibilities” in Afghanistan by helping ensure its development and stability while “respecting the sovereignty and independence of Afghanistan.”
The problem is, the new caretaker government announced by the Taliban includes wanted terrorists on the US list and there is no suggestion that the country will have an inclusive government, or one that respects women’s rights, while a democratic election remains a far cry.
China shares a 50-mile (80 km) border with the occupied western region of Xinjiang at the end of the narrow Wakhan Corridor and already has substantial investment in the wider region through the BRI.
Following a high-profile meeting between Taliban leaders and the Chinese foreign minister in Tianjin in July, Wang called the Taliban “an important military and political force in Afghanistan” and declared that they would play “an important role in the country’s peace, reconciliation and reconstruction process”, said a CNN report.
In return, the Taliban called China a “good friend” and pledged to “never allow any forces to use the Afghan territory to engage in acts detrimental to China,” according to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry at the meeting.
“China is a very important and strong country in our neighbourhood, and we have had very positive and good relations with China in the past,” Taliban’s main spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said. “We want to make these relations even stronger and want to improve the mutual trust level.”