China announces $31mn aid for Taliban-ruled Afghanistan

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi announced the donation in a meeting held by video link with counterparts and senior diplomats from Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. China will donate grains, winter supplies, vaccines, and medicines to Afghanistan.
Men shop at a stall selling mobile accessories at a market in Kot-e Sangi area in Kabul on Wednesday. China will donate grains, winter supplies, vaccines, and medicines to Afghanistan. (AFP)
Men shop at a stall selling mobile accessories at a market in Kot-e Sangi area in Kabul on Wednesday. China will donate grains, winter supplies, vaccines, and medicines to Afghanistan. (AFP)
Updated on Sep 08, 2021 10:54 PM IST
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By Sutirtho Patranobis I Edited by Amit Chanda

China announced on Wednesday that it would donate 200 million yuan (US$31 million) worth of aid, including grains, winter supplies and coronavirus vaccines to Afghanistan, a day after the Taliban announced the formation of an interim government in Kabul.

State councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi announced the donation in a meeting held by video link with counterparts and senior diplomats from Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

“China has decided to urgently provide 200 million yuan ($30.96 million) worth of grains, winter supplies, vaccines, and medicines to Afghanistan according to the needs of the Afghan people,” according to the official news agency, Xinhua.

Wang Yi said China has decided to donate 3 million vaccine doses to the Afghan people in the first batch. China is also ready to provide more anti-epidemic and emergency materials to Afghanistan under the China-South Asian Countries Emergency Supplies Reserve, the Xinhua reported.

Wang Yi said the “interim” nature of the Taliban government shows that the future of Afghanistan is still faced with uncertainties.

He said as neighbours, China and the other five countries have witnessed the consequences of the decades of war on the Afghan people, and have also directly endured the negative influence of the spillover. “No country is more unwilling than we are to see Afghanistan return to war or disaster, and no country is more eager than we are to see it return to peace and development,” Wang Yi said.

Noting the situation in Afghanistan is moving from chaos to governance, Wang Yi called on the neighbours to seize the key opportunity, boost communication and coordination, focus on common concerns, and exert more positive influence on the development of the situation while respecting Afghanistan’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, Xinhua reported.

Wang Yi said, as initiators of the problems, the US and its allies should learn the lesson and assume their due responsibility. “They have more of a duty to supply economic, livelihood and humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people than any other country,” he said, adding that they are obliged to help Afghanistan maintain stability and move towards positive development while respecting its sovereignty and independence.

The announcement came soon after Xinhua, ran a story headlined, “China welcomes Taliban’s announcement of caretaker government”, quoting foreign ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin.

While not directly using the term “welcome”, spokesperson Wang Wenbin had said China attaches importance to the Taliban’s announcement of the formation of a caretaker government in Afghanistan together with some important personnel arrangements. “This has ended the more than three weeks of anarchy in Afghanistan and is a necessary step towards Afghanistan’s restoration of order and post-war reconstruction,” Wang Wenbin said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the online meeting, foreign minister Wang Yi said the US and its allies have more of a duty to supply economic and humanitarian aid to Afghanistan than any other country.

They should help Afghanistan’s positive development while respecting its sovereignty and independence, he said.

Wang Yi called on the Taliban to cut ties with all extreme terrorist forces and take measures to crack down on them.

“All parties should strengthen intelligence sharing and border control cooperation to catch and eliminate terrorist groups that have sneaked in from Afghanistan,” in order to ensure regional security and stability, Wang Yi was quoted as saying.

Wang Yi said that Afghanistan today stands at a crossroads in history and as a neighbour, no country is more reluctant than China to see Afghanistan return to war and disaster. “No country expects peace and development in Afghanistan more than we do,” Wang Yi said.

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin was quoted by China’s national broadcaster, CCTV’s English channel, CGTN as saying that the situation in Afghanistan is moving from chaos to governance.

Wang Wenbin called on the neighbours to seize the key opportunity, boost communication and coordination, focus on common concerns, and exert more positive influence on the development of the situation while respecting Afghanistan’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

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Sunday, October 24, 2021