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China to maintain communication with new Afghan government

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin (File photo)

China has expressed readiness to maintain communication with the leaders of the new interim government in Afghanistan, calling its establishment a “necessary step” in restoring order to the war-ravaged country.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin made the remarks at a regular press briefing in the capital Beijing on Wednesday, a day after the Taliban announced the formation of a caretaker government in Afghanistan.

"China attaches great importance to the Taliban's announcement about the creation of an interim government. This put an end to over three weeks of anarchy in Afghanistan and was a necessary step for the restoration of order and for the post-war reconstruction of the country", Wang said when asked if China would recognize the new government.

He added that China respects the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan.

Earlier, US President Joe Biden said that China would have issues dealing with the Taliban following the complete withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, adding that he was certain that Beijing as well as Afghanistan’s neighbors would try to work out an arrangement with the group.  

"China has a real problem with the Taliban. So they're going to try to work out some arrangement with the Taliban, I'm sure. As does Pakistan, as does Russia, as does Iran. They're all trying to figure out what do they do now," Biden said.

So far, China has not officially recognized the Taliban as Afghanistan's new rulers, but has said the world should guide and support the country as it transitions to a new government instead of piling more pressure on it.

In a phone call on August 29, Wang told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the international community should engage with the Taliban and "positively guide" them.

China has also called on the US to quit imposing American norms on other nations after the Afghanistan fiasco, stressing that every country is entitled to independently explore paths of development that suit their national conditions and realities.

On Tuesday, the Taliban named the leaders of the interim government, three weeks after their takeover and a power vacuum in Afghanistan. They announced that the new cabinet will start its work immediately.

The formation of the interim Afghan government came while rallies were held across the capital, Kabul, with Afghan protesters — most of them women — taking to the streets to show their defiance against the Taliban that swept to power last month.

Since the Taliban took power on August 15, Afghans have staged small demonstrations in different cities to express their protest against the group's return to power, after 20 years of US occupation.

The Taliban have pledged to rule differently compared to their first stint in power, when girls and women were banned from education. Women, they say, will be allowed to attend university, but there would be a ban on mixed classes under their rule.

The new rulers also promised an "inclusive" government that represents Afghanistan’s complex ethnic makeup.

The United States and its NATO allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 under the pretext that the Taliban militants were harboring al-Qaeda. The invasion removed the Taliban from power but it worsened the security situation in the country.

The group intensified their offensives and rapidly overran major cities over the past month as the United States started what was seen as a hasty withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan.

The government of Afghanistan rapidly collapsed on August 15 with President Ashraf Ghani fleeing the country in the face of lightning advances of the Taliban.

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