Taliban make it loud and clear: China is our top ally
Describing China as its “most important partner”, the Taliban group has said that it looks up to Beijing for support as war-ravaged Afghanistan faces widespread hunger and the possibility of a major economic collapse.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said the group supports Beijing’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative that aims to link China with Africa, Asia and Europe through a network of ports, railways, roads and industrial parks.
“China is our most important partner and represents a fundamental and extraordinary opportunity for us because it is ready to invest and rebuild our country,” Geo News quoted Mujahid as saying in an interview to an Italian newspaper on Thursday.
There are “rich copper mines in the country, which, thanks to the Chinese, can be put back into operation and modernised. In addition, China is our pass to markets all over the world,” said Mujahid.
China, too, has been making positive statements on the Taliban ever since it came to power in Kabul, and has expressed hope that the insurgents will follow moderate domestic and foreign policies, combat terrorist forces, live in harmony with other countries, and live up to the aspiration of its people and the international community.
Afghan situation likely on BRICS summit agenda
The aftermath of the Taliban toppling the US-backed government in Kabul is likely to be discussed during a BRICS summit scheduled for later this month, Beijing indicated on Friday. The 13th BRICS summit will be held virtually under the chairmanship of India.
“BRICS is an important platform for cooperation between emerging markets and developing countries. It is a positive stabilising constructive force in international affairs,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters when asked whether the summit will discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
EU sets conditions for building ties with Taliban
EU countries on Friday laid out their conditions for stepping up engagement with the Taliban, agreeing to establish a joint Kabul civilian presence to help departures if security allows.
“We have to engage with the new government in Afghanistan, which doesn’t mean recognition. It’s an operational engagement,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said, following a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers in Slovenia. “This operational engagement will increase depending on the behaviour of this government.”