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Top-level Taliban delegation visits China, ‘offers assurances’

Members of a Taliban delegation look on during talks with Afghan officials in Qatar’s capital, Doha, on July 18, 2021. (File photo by AFP)

A top-level Taliban delegation visiting China has assured Beijing that Afghanistan will never be used as a base against the security of any other nation, the militant group says.

The delegation, led by Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, is in China to hold talks with Chinese officials on Wednesday. Baradar met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in the northern city of Tianjin on the same day.

Taliban “assured China that Afghanistan’s soil would not be used against any country’s security,” the group’s spokesman Mohammad Naeem told AFP on Wednesday. China also “promised not to interfere in Afghanistan’s affairs, but instead help to solve problems and bring peace,” he added.

The Taliban, who have intensified attacks across Afghanistan, now control about 212 of the country’s 419 district centers, according to the US military.

The US is also blamed for the surge in Taliban violence, as it has failed to stabilize the security situation in Afghanistan after two decades of war and occupation.

China has been closely watching the situation in Afghanistan, including the progress of the US troop withdrawal from the country.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Tuesday that Washington “should shoulder its due responsibilities, [and] take concrete actions to ensure a smooth transition of the situation in Afghanistan.”

The United States is withdrawing from Afghanistan under a deal with the Taliban in which the militants pledged not to attack foreign forces. But they made no promise not to attack Afghan government forces and civilians. Afghan troops are now actively battling the militants across the country. 

China hosted a nine-member Taliban delegation in 2019.

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