China asks Taliban to make 'clean break' from terrorists, return to mainstream
- Last week, the Taliban said that the group would guarantee the safety of Chinese investors and workers in Afghanistan and would not host Uyghur militants from the Xinjiang province.
After the Taliban spokesperson called Beijing a “welcome friend”, China has asked the Islamist militant group to make a “clean break” from all terrorist forces. China has been wary of Afghanistan becoming a hub for the al-Qaida-backed Uyghur Muslim militant group the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a separatist outfit waging an insurgency in volatile Xinjiang province.
During a media briefing at Dushanbe, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi on Tuesday pitched for restarting intra-Afghan negotiations and prevention of all kinds of terrorist forces gaining ground in the war-torn region. Wang said that the Taliban should make a "clean break" with all terrorist forces and return to the mainstream of Afghan politics.
Wang also praised the Afghan government which is fighting the Taliban fighters to defend its territories. The Chinese foreign minister said that the government headed by President Ashraf Ghani has done a lot of work for national unity, social stability and improvement of people's livelihood, which should be justly evaluated.
Wang’s statement on the Taliban came ahead of the foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Dushanbe. The issue of Afghanistan dominated the meeting on Wednesday where external affairs minister S Jaishankar joined his counterparts from the SCO states - China, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
“Afghanistan, public health and economic recovery are pressing issues. Combating terrorism and extremism is the key purpose of SCO. Must stop terror financing and deter digital facilitation,” Jaishankar tweeted after addressing the meeting.
Last week, Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen told Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post that the group would guarantee the safety of Chinese investors and workers, claiming that it controls 85% of Afghan territory. Shaheen also reportedly assured China that it would not host Uyghur militants from the Xinjiang province.
“We have been to China many times and we have good relations with them,” SCMP quoted Suhail as saying. "If (the Chinese) have investments, of course, we will ensure their safety.”
(With PTI inputs)