By Catherine Wong
August 06, 2021″Information Clearing House” – “SCMP” China has pledged support for the Taliban’s role in Afghanistan’s reconstruction, while demanding that it cuts ties with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement – blamed by Beijing for attacks in its Xinjiang region.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the remarks during talks with a nine-member delegation led by the Taliban’s chief negotiator and co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in the northern city of Tianjin on Wednesday.
It was the first time a senior member of the organisation had visited China since the Taliban’s capture of several key districts in Badakhshan and Kandahar provinces. Taliban fighters have taken control of around half the country up to its border with the Chinese region of Xinjiang, and US air strikes continue to support Afghan security forces.
Wang said the withdrawal of US and Nato troops from Afghanistan represented a failure of US policies and called on the Taliban to push for a role in the peace process.
“The Taliban in Afghanistan is a pivotal military and political force in the country, and will play an important role in the process of peace, reconciliation and reconstruction there,” Wang said, according to a foreign ministry statement.
Wang said China would support Afghanistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, but he also demanded the Taliban cut off any connection with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM).
“ETIM is an international terrorist organisation listed by the UN Security Council and poses a direct threat to China’s national security and territorial integrity,” Wang said.
“Fighting ETIM is the common responsibility of the international community and I hope the Afghanistan Taliban will cut ties with terror groups such as ETIM. The Afghanistan Taliban can contribute to an effective crackdown against those groups and play an active role in regional stability and development.”