US President Joe Biden speaks to the press upon his return to the White House in Washington, DC, on September 7, 2021. (Nicholas Kamm / AFP)
US President Joe Biden speaks to the press upon his return to the White House in Washington, DC, on September 7, 2021. (Nicholas Kamm / AFP)

Joe Biden was asked about the China-Taliban finance link. Here's what he said

Much of the economic leverage imposed by the US on the Taliban will be lost if China, Russia, or any other nation continues to provide funds to the new rulers in Afghanistan, political experts say.
Written by Joydeep Bose | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON SEP 08, 2021 08:26 AM IST

Joe Biden, president of the United States of America, said on Tuesday (local time) that China has a “real problem” with the Taliban, and thus he has reason to believe that Beijing will work out “some arrangement” with the new rulers in Afghanistan. When asked about the Taliban getting funding from China, Biden responded by saying that China, not unlike Pakistan, Russia, and Iran, is just trying to “figure out” how best to react to the new government that the militants announced a day ago.

“China has a real problem with the Taliban,” Biden told reporters at a press conference held in the White House. “So they're going to try to work out some arrangement with the Taliban, I'm sure. As does Pakistan, as does Russia, as does Iran. They're all trying to figure out what do they do now.”

Also Read | Taliban and its potential international partners: What’s in it for them?

The statement from the US president came on the day that the Taliban announced a new interim government in Afghanistan after weeks of deliberation, unveiling an all-male cabinet that also includes a top official who is on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)'s ‘most wanted’ list, with a bounty of up to $10 million on his head. Although the United States remains reasonably concerned about the make-up of the new cabinet, it is now known that China is preparing to pitch the new Taliban regime as one of its allies.

China, before the fall of Kabul, had already prepared to recognise the Taliban as the legitimate ruler of the war-torn nation. Moreover, just a few weeks before the Ashraf Ghani regime fell, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi met the Afghan Taliban political commission Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in a bid to develop 'friendly relations' with the group.

Further compounding things, Wang Yi held a phone call with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on August 29, where the former said that the international community should engage with the Taliban and "positively guide" them.

Also Read | Inside look at Taliban all-male cabinet: Minister wanted by FBI, with a bounty on his head

For its part, the United States has, along with its Group of Seven allies, agreed to coordinate its response to the Taliban. The White House said that the Biden administration has no current plans to release billions in Afghan gold, investments, and foreign currency reserves held by the New York Federal Reserve, which it froze after the Taliban takeover. Western powers say formal recognition of the Taliban government and a resulting flow of economic aid will depend on action to safeguard human rights, the rule of law, and the media.

However, political experts say that much of this economic leverage will be lost if China, Russia, or any other nation continues to provide funds to the Taliban. It has been reported that Beijing may take some time to invest and shall focus on the Afghanistan situation as it evolves.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP