Afghan Taliban says it sees China as a ‘friend’, promises not to host Uyghur militants from Xinjiang: Report – News Vibe24

    Afghan Taliban says it sees China as a 'friend', promises not to host Uyghur militants from Xinjiang: Report - Times of India
    BEIJING: The Taliban have said they see China as a “friend” of Afghanistan and have assured Beijing they will not host Uighur Islamist fighters from the volatile Xinjiang province, which is a major concern for the Chinese government, according to a report by the Chinese government.
    The comments came as the Taliban gained territorial gains in the war-torn country amid the withdrawal of US forces. China has already evacuated 210 of its nationals from Afghanistan on a chartered flight this week.
    Beijing worries that under Taliban rule, Afghanistan will become a hub for the Islamic Movement of East Turkestan (ETIM), an al-Qaeda-linked separatist movement in Xinjiang.
    The resource-rich Xinjiang shares a border of about 8 km with Afghanistan.
    Downgrading China’s concerns, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said he saw China as a “friend” to Afghanistan and hoped to talk to Beijing about investing in reconstruction work “as soon as possible.”
    Suhail also said the Taliban would no longer allow Chinese Uighur separatists from Xinjiang, some of whom had previously sought refuge in Afghanistan, to enter the country.
    The Taliban would also prevent al Qaeda or any other terrorist group from operating there, he said.
    “We have been to China many times and have good relations with them,” Suhail told the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, recalling the few meetings China has hosted in the past for Taliban delegations.
    “China is a friendly country and we welcome it for the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan,” he said, adding that “if (the Chinese) have investment, of course, we will ensure their security,” Sahin said.
    Criticizing US move to withdraw troops without stabilizing peace process in Afghanistan, China this week urged its close ally in Pakistan to step up co-operation to reduce security risks in the war-torn country. after the withdrawal of foreign forces.
    “(China and Pakistan) must stand up for regional peace together. The problems in Afghanistan are practical challenges facing both China and Pakistan,” he said, especially in the wake of the rise of both international and regional terrorism. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday marked the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Pakistan.
    While the withdrawal and revival of US Taliban troops should benefit China strategically, as the Taliban have close ties to Pakistan, both Islamabad and Beijing are concerned as they face threats from Islamic State militants. Qaeda and the Taliban.
    China is investing heavily in Afghanistan, with the country having the world’s largest untapped reserves of more than $ 1 trillion in copper, coal, iron, gas, cobalt, mercury, gold, lithium and thorium.
    In 2011, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) won a $ 400 million bid to drill three oil wells over 25 years, with approximately 87 million barrels of oil.
    Chinese companies have also acquired rights to mine copper at Mes Aynak in Logar province, according to the Post report.
    However, observers say China will remain very cautious and worried that the Taliban will keep its promises.
    “Whatever the benevolent language used by the Taliban, China remains deeply concerned about the security situation there,” said Andrew Small, a senior transatlantic partner in the Marshall Fund’s Asia program.
    He said China’s biggest concern in its dealings with the Taliban had always been whether it housed Uighur separatists.
    China’s repression of Xinjiang, observers say, has sparked resentment among indigenous Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang. The United States, the European Union and international human rights groups have accused Beijing of committing genocide in the province.
    The 12th report of the UN Support and Sanctions Monitoring Group last month confirmed the presence of ETIM fighters in Afghanistan.
    “The East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) is made up of several hundred members, mainly in Badakhshan and neighboring provinces of Afghanistan,” the report told the UN Security Council.
    The report said large numbers of al Qaeda fighters and other foreign extremist elements aligned with the Taliban were in various parts of Afghanistan.

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