China has blamed the abrupt US withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan for a surge in attacks, after multiple explosions at a girls’ school in Kabul on Saturday killed more than 60 people, most of them female students. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China was “shocked” by the attacks and “deeply saddened” by the death toll. She also called on Washington to pull out troops “in a responsible manner”. “It needs to be pointed out that the recent abrupt US announcement of complete withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan has led to a succession of explosive attacks throughout the country, worsening the security situation and threatening peace and stability as well as people’s lives and safety,” Hua said in a statement posted on the ministry’s website on Sunday. US leaves China a Xinjiang terrorism problem with its Afghanistan exit “China calls on foreign troops in Afghanistan to take into full account the security of people in the country and the region, pull out in a responsible manner and avoid inflicting more turmoil and suffering on the Afghan people.” There have been growing fears in both Afghanistan and its neighbour China of an emerging security vacuum as US and Nato troops complete their final military withdrawal. The final 2,500 to 3,500 American troops have begun leaving Afghanistan and will be out by September, after two decades of deployment there. Beijing has long feared that instability in Afghanistan would give ground to Islamic fundamentalism that would spill over into China’s predominantly Muslim Xinjiang region. The US withdrawal has already led to a surge in fighting between a resurgent Taliban and Afghan security forces. The heavily Shiite Dasht-e-Barchi area, where the Saturday attack took place, has been frequently hit by Islamic State militants. No one has yet claimed responsibility. Taliban launches huge Afghan offensive after missed US deadline In her statement, Hua said China would continue its support for the government in Kabul, without going into details. “China opposes violent extremism in all its manifestations. We will continue our firm support for the Afghan government and people in their efforts to combat terrorism and safeguard national security and stability. We also stand ready to work with the international community to help Afghanistan realise peace at an early date.” Observers said Beijing was unlikely to station troops in Afghanistan, but might work with other countries in the region to reduce the security risk to China. In 2018, Afghan troops were trained in China, which helped them set up a mountain brigade aimed at countering possible attacks by al-Qaeda and Islamic State. Pang Zhongying, an international relations professor at Ocean University of China, said Beijing was tempted to fill the strategic vacuum left by the US, but was unlikely to play a significant military role there because the risk was too high. Pang said China could send peacekeepers through the United Nations framework, “but the UN framework is too fragile and it would also be difficult for China to project its strategic influence through this platform”.