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Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (centre), tipped to become Afghanistan’s next president, pictured in Qatar after signing the 2020 peace agreement with the US which paved the way for the group’s resurgence. Photo: AFP

China calls for the world to judge ‘more rational’ Taliban objectively

  • At the same time Beijing is demanding the Afghanistan group cuts its ties with other terror organisations
  • Foreign minister Wang Yi says the Taliban’s pledges must be backed by specific policies and actions

China said the Afghanistan Taliban had become more rational than it was two decades ago and called on other nations to be more “objective” in judging the situation facing Afghanistan – while at the same time demanding the insurgent group be very clear about cutting ties with other terror forces.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Thursday that China was aware of the suspicions towards the Taliban but added that “nothing in the world is set in stone”.

“When dealing with a problem, we should not only depend on what has happened in the past, but also on what is happening now. This is done not only by listening to what is said, but also by watching what is done..... The rapid change of situation in Afghanistan shows that the past judgment on the nation by the outside world lacked objectiveness and an accurate grasp of public opinion in Afghanistan,” she said.


At least 3 people killed after shots fired during anti-Taliban protests in Afghanistan

At least 3 people killed after shots fired during anti-Taliban protests in Afghanistan

“The Afghanistan Taliban today are more calm and rational than the last time they were in power. We encourage and hope that Afghanistan Taliban will put what they have said over the past days into practice.”

The Taliban is aiming to restore the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the country’s formal name under Taliban rule before the militants were ousted by US-led forces in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

Since taking over the capital Kabul on Sunday, the armed group said it had become moderate and pledged more rights for women and an amnesty for government officials. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the group did not want any internal or external enemies and would maintain peaceful relations with other nations.

Who is Baradar, Taliban leader with near-legendary status?

In a phone call with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the policy direction of the Afghanistan Taliban was important for the future of the war-torn nation.

“The leaders of the Taliban said they would solve the problems faced by the people and satisfy the people’s aspirations. This is sending a positive signal to the outside world.”

Wang said remarks by Taliban officials that the group aimed to establish an inclusive government and would not allow Afghanistan to be a threat to other countries was the “right direction”, but he added that those pledges needed to be translated into specific policies and actions.

“To this end, the Afghanistan Taliban needs to completely cut off from all terrorist forces with a clear attitude and take measures to combat international terrorist organisations classified by the UN Security Council, including the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM),” Wang said, referring to the group blamed by Beijing for violent attacks in Xinjiang.

Beijing can’t yet trust Taliban terrorism pledges, Chinese experts say

The return of the Taliban to Kabul has raised fears in Beijing that the turmoil in Afghanistan could spill across its border with China’s Xinjiang region.

In recent days, senior diplomats from the major players involved in the region – including the US, China, Russia, India and Pakistan – have held urgent talks on Afghanistan’s future, with Beijing calling for the “soft landing” of a stable transition without bloodshed.

Beijing raised its stake in the Central Asian country last month when it hosted a Taliban delegation in Tianjin led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, tipped to become Afghanistan’s next president. The Chinese embassy in Kabul remains in operation, even as countries such as the US and India evacuate their diplomatic staff.


China warns UN about a possible resurgence of terrorism in Afghanistan after Taliban victory

China warns UN about a possible resurgence of terrorism in Afghanistan after Taliban victory

In a separate phone call with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday, Wang said their two nations needed to step up coordination over Afghanistan.

China and Pakistan will “support Afghanistan in combating terrorism, and preventing it from becoming a hotbed for terror forces,” Wang said, adding the two countries would also facilitate international cooperation over the situation.

“The two sides should encourage all Afghan parties to strengthen solidarity, and to establish a new broad-based and inclusive political structure that is suited to the Afghan national conditions, and supported by the public,” he said.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Judge ‘more rational’ Taliban objectively, Beijing urges