G20 talks: China moots tough approach to terror in Taliban-run Afghanistan

A readout at the G20 summit from China’s foreign ministry quoted President Xi Jinping’s special representative Wang Yi as outlining a four-point proposal for Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, which also included joint international efforts to help the country
Taliban fighters guard Serena Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan. At the G20 special summit, China called for a zero-tolerance approach to terrorism in Afghanistan. (AP)
Taliban fighters guard Serena Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan. At the G20 special summit, China called for a zero-tolerance approach to terrorism in Afghanistan. (AP)
Published on Oct 13, 2021 06:38 PM IST
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By Sutirtho Patranobis

China urged the international community to push the Taliban government to adopt a “zero-tolerance” approach to terrorism and create an inclusive government at Tuesday’s special G20 summit convened to discuss the way forward for war-torn Afghanistan, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

A readout from the ministry quoted President Xi Jinping’s special representative Wang Yi as outlining a four-point proposal for Afghanistan, which also included joint international efforts to help the country.

The proposals by Wang, who is also a state councillor and foreign minister, were “putting people first and helping Afghanistan to overcome the humanitarian crisis; encouraging Afghanistan to move toward inclusive development; holding a zero-tolerance attitude to terrorism; and pushing for joint efforts with a consensus toward helping Afghanistan”.

Elaborating on the third proposal at the G20 meet, Wang said told the meeting to “adopt a zero-tolerance approach to ensure that Afghanistan keeps itself far away from terrorism”.

“It is necessary to promote the relevant Afghan parties to make an early decision and take practical action to root out terrorism. It is also necessary to cause the international community to build a united front against terrorism by abandoning double standards and selective counter-terrorism so as to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a hotbed and harbour for terrorism again,” Wang said in his speech delivered via video link.

Referring to the US’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in August, Wang said countries that have caused the current predicament in Afghanistan should learn the lessons and take responsibility to help avoid a humanitarian and refugee crisis.

“Countries that still impose unilateral sanctions should lift them, and international financial organisations should increase financial support for Afghanistan’s poverty alleviation and infrastructure construction,” Wang was quoted as saying in the foreign ministry statement after the G20 special session.

China has strongly criticised the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and have maintained close and frequent communication with the Taliban, which is now in power.

It was one of the first countries to announce a 200 million yuan ($31million) aid for Afghanistan in September, and it has urged the international community, particularly the US, to provide assistance to Kabul.

Beijing has also said that while it encourages Kabul to form an inclusive government and cut ties with terrorists, especially the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), it will not interfere in its domestic affairs.

In late July, Wang had told a visiting Taliban delegation that it hopes the insurgent group will play a critical role in the reconstruction process of Afghanistan and had urged the insurgent group to crackdown on ETIM, an Islamic group it alleges is fuelling separatism in Xinjiang.

In his speech on Tuesday, Wang said, “Today’s Afghanistan is at the crossroads of the rise and fall of governance, and there is still a long way to go to achieve peace and stability.”

Wang urged G20 members to contribute to the peaceful development of Taliban-ruled Afghanistan on the basis of respect for its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

The virtual meeting was hosted by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, the rotating president of the G20. US President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Europe’s G20 leaders also took part.

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Saturday, October 23, 2021