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China recognizes Afghan Taliban as political force

Taliban is now part of Afghan political process, says China's ambassador in Islamabad

China recognizes Afghan Taliban as political force

By Islamuddin Sajid


China recognizes the Taliban as a “political force” amid its participation in the Afghan peace process, said its envoy to Pakistan, according to local media.

Yao Jing, China’s ambassador in Islamabad, also praised Pakistan’s role in facilitating the Afghan peace process -- including its efforts to facilitate talks between the Taliban and U.S. -- and helping end the long conflict in Afghanistan.

"China will pick Taliban as a political force because they are now part of the Afghan political process and they have some political concerns," the Dawn quoted Yao telling a gathering in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

China has had contacts with the Afghan government and Taliban, and its special envoy visited the Taliban political office in Doha, he added.

"China supports all efforts taken for peace in Afghanistan because the Afghan people deserve peace and stability," said Yao.

On Jan. 14, on a four-nation trip, top U.S. peace negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad visited Beijing and met with Chinese officials.

"Fruitful talks with senior Chinese officials who committed to the success of Afghan peace. We discussed regional support for an inclusive peace process for all Afghans & ensuring Afghanistan never again serves as a platform for terrorism," Khalilzad tweeted after his meetings with Chinese officials

Last December, Pakistan confirmed it had arranged rare direct talks between Washington and the Taliban, paving the way for a negotiated settlement of the conflict that has entered its 18th year.

In 2015, Pakistan facilitated the landmark first round of direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Islamabad, but the process broke down after Taliban announced the death of their longtime leader Mullah Omer, triggering a bitter power struggle within the militia.

Chances for resumption of the stalled process dimmed further following the death of Omer’s successor, Mullah Mansur, in a U.S. drone strike in 2016 on Pakistan, near the Afghan border.

Since then, several attempts to resume the stalled peace process have been made by a four-nation group made up of Pakistan, Afghanistan, the U.S., and China.

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