| 2 December 2023, Saturday |

Taliban are eager for dialogue with the world, Chinese minister says

According to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the Taliban are eager to engage in discussion with the rest of the world, and the international community should assist Afghanistan in its development.

Wang said Beijing was willing to facilitate more talks between Afghanistan and its neighbors on the country’s future in a video message presented to a conference in Iran.

“The Taliban are anxious to engage in discourse with the rest of the world… At the proper time, China will host the third summit of Afghanistan’s neighbors “In remarks broadcast live on Iranian state television, Wang stated.

The foreign ministers of Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan attended the conference of Afghanistan and neighboring nations in person, while China and Russia participated through video link.

The meetings are aimed at building a lasting peace in Afghanistan and follow a similar summit with Afghanistan’s neighboring countries that was sponsored by Pakistan in September.

China, which has not fought in Afghanistan, has extended an olive branch to the Taliban since they took power in the country following the withdrawal of US troops in August.

The United States and other Western countries are seeking ways to engage with the Taliban and ensure humanitarian aid flows into the country, without granting them the legitimacy they seek.

U.S. officials and Taliban representatives discussed humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan this month in Qatar but Washington said the meetings did not amount to recognition of the Taliban.

The United States and other Western nations are reluctant to provide the Taliban with funds until the Islamist militant movement provides assurances that it will uphold human rights, and in particular the rights of women.

At Wednesday’s conference in Iran, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian backed the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan, state television reported. His remarks echoed Iran’s official stance.

Shi’ite Muslim Iran has been a foe of the hardline Sunni Muslim Taliban for decades, but for the past few years it has been openly meeting Taliban leaders. In July, Tehran hosted a meeting of then Afghan government representatives and a high-level Taliban political committee.

Iran has criticized the Taliban, which took control over Afghanistan in August, for excluding ethnic minorities from the government.

  • Reuters