The Taliban Welcomes Beijing’s Role in Afghanistan

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The Taliban Welcomes Beijing's Role in Afghanistan
Taliban fighters stand guard along a road near the site of an Ashura procession which is held to mark the death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad, along a road in Herat on Aug. 19, 2021, amid the Taliban’s military takeover of Afghanistan. (Aref Karimi/AFP via Getty Images)

During an interview with Chinese state media, a Taliban spokesperson praised Beijing for its role in Afghan politics.

“[The Chinese regime] plays a very important role in the transaction of Afghanistan, as well as in peace reconciliation,” Suhail Shaheen, the Taliban spokesman in Qatar, said on Thursday in English on China’s state-run CGTV.

“[Beijing] appointed a special envoy to Afghanistan, with whom we had regular contact,” he explained.

According to Shaheen, the Taliban and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have long been in contact.

“Of course, we’ve been to China on various occasions… “[The Chinese regime] played a critical role in the transition of Afghanistan [from the democratic Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the theocratic Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan],” he explained.

Shaheen also revealed that Beijing had appointed a new official to serve as the Taliban’s point of contact.

“We have spoken with him.” Our delegation recently met with him,” Shaheen explained.

The interview comes some 20 years after US-led forces ousted the Taliban from power in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The repressive Islamic fundamentalist group is now reestablishing its rule over the country, and Beijing is playing a role while gloating over the withdrawal of the United States.

On the surface, China has not been involved in any of Afghanistan’s conflicts over the last century, in contrast to the United States and its NATO allies, which attempted to establish and defend democracy in the country for 20 years, and the Soviet Union, which occupied the country from late 1979 to early 1989.

According to a September 2001 Population Research Institute report, the CCP regime has long supported the Taliban in arms and technology from the shadows. According to the report, Huawei, China’s largest telecommunications company, allegedly assisted in the construction of telecommunications networks for the Taliban, which aided Osama bin Laden and his terrorist attacks against the United States.

After the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan on August 15, Waheedullah Hashimi, a senior Taliban leader with access to the group’s decision-making, told Reuters that the Taliban regime would be a theocracy with a similar power structure to when it ruled the country from 1996 to 2001.

On July 28, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Taliban leaders.

Beijing has previously expressed concern that Taliban-controlled territory could harbor separatist troops from its western Xinjiang region, which is home to Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims.

In recent weeks, however, the regime’s tone has shifted, and it has openly declared its willingness to establish “friendly ties” with the group that has taken control of the country, which has trillions of dollars’ worth of rare earth metals.

China respects the intention and choice of the Afghan people… China will maintain contact and communication with the Afghan Taliban, “said Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, on August 16.

At the same time, the CCP regime and its state-run media celebrated the Taliban’s rise and the Americans’ “victory” in Afghanistan.

“[The United States] is indeed a ‘paper tiger,'” Xinhua observed on August 16.

It mocked the US, claiming that the failure of democracy in Afghanistan demonstrates the country’s weakness, and that China tightly controlled its border, claiming that “even a bird is difficult to fly over from Afghanistan.”

Meanwhile, Amrullah Saleh, the acting president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and military leader Ahmad Massoud are leading the Panjshir resistance against the Taliban.

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