China’s possible involvement in Afghanistan could be a ‘positive’ development, US State Department says

China could play a constructive role in Afghanistan if it helps secure a political settlement between Kabul and the Taliban, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said.

Washington’s most senior diplomat remarked on Thursday that Beijing’s involvement in the war-torn country could be a “positive thing” if it helped to work towards a “peaceful resolution of the conflict.”

Taliban representatives traveled to China earlier this week to hold talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi about the political and military situation in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of US-led coalition troops from the country.

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FILE PHOTO. Taliban delegates speak during talks between the Afghan government and Taliban insurgents in Doha, Qatar September 12, 2020.
China discusses security with Taliban following concerns of instability in Afghanistan after US troops withdrawal

Beijing has signaled that it sees the Taliban as playing an important role in bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan. A spokesperson for the militant group said China was not interested in interfering with internal issues, but, instead, wanted to help restore peace in the country.

Commenting on the talks, Blinken insisted “no one” wanted to see a military takeover of the country by the Taliban, or the restoration of the group’s extremist Islamic emirate. He urged the Taliban to “peacefully” return to the negotiating table to bring an end to the nearly 20-year conflict that began with the US invasion of the Central Asian nation in October 2001.

China’s Foreign Ministry has stressed that it seeks to pursue a policy of “non-interference,” adding that the withdrawal of US-led forces from Afghanistan revealed Washington’s foreign policy “failure” in the country.

Afghanistan has seen a sharp uptick in violence since the US military’s exit from the country. The Taliban now claims it has gained control over a large portion of the country amid an aggressive military offensive that has seen numerous districts fall to the group. 

Although the US is on track to complete its full withdrawal from the country by the end of August, the Pentagon has vowed it will continue to provide air support to Kabul as it battles the Taliban for territory. 

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