China is willing to accept the Taliban as the legitimate rule of Afghanistan if the terror group manages to usurp the power from the democratically elected government in Kabul, a report published in the US News said.
While China has publicly pressurised the terrorist group to sign a peace agreement with President Ashraf Ghani’s democratically elected government, new Chinese military and intelligence assessment of the realities on the ground have caused leaders in the Chinese Communist Party to prepare to formalise their relationship with the terror group, the US News report said while quoting multiple U.S. and foreign intelligence sources familiar with the Chinese assessments.
The move comes in the midst of a relentless Talibani blitz that has resulted in the fall of at least 11 provincial capitals, including one near Kabul, along with large expanses of territories bordering China. The military offensive also undercuts the US efforts to persuade the terrorist group to honour its words and return in good faith to diplomatic negotiations in Doha, Qatar, where America’s envoy travelled for a new round of talks.
The power vacuum in Afghanistan has provided China with both challenges and opportunities. The challenges are because the Taliban represent the Islamic extremism that China claims it is fighting in Xinjiang, the province that borders Afghanistan. Despite its blossoming relationship with the Taliban, China had expressed concerns about the group’s ties with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which is considered a domestic security threat. The opportunities for China lay in terms of filling the partial vacuum that it could fill after the Western countries withdraw from the strife-torn region.
The recent US and NATO withdrawal after a protracted 20-year-war in Afghanistan has catalysed the emergence of the Taliban, which has seized on the opportunity by making swift advances across the country and now threatens to overpower the Kabul government. According to analysts, the Taliban is strong enough to overthrow the Ashraf Ghani government in Kabul within 30 to 90 days.
“If the Taliban claim to want international legitimacy, these actions are not going to get them the legitimacy they seek,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Friday. “They could choose to devote the same energy to their peace process as they are to their military campaign. We strongly urge them to do so.”
When the last time Taliban ruled Afghanistan during 1996-2001, only four nations had recognised its government, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). If the Taliban recaptures the country again, it is expected that Pakistan will be among the first to recognise the govt this time also, as it is actively aiding the Taliban.
Talibani delegation visits China to meet Foreign Minister
China recently also had a meeting with visiting Talibani delegation. During the meeting, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi held talks with Taliban delegates led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. In the meeting, Beijing had conveyed its apprehensions that under Taliban rule, Afghanistan will become a hub for the Uyghur separatist outfit East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM).
East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) is an Uyghur separatist group, aligned to Al-Qaeda, that has long sought independence for the Chinese province of Xinjiang.
Amidst the ongoing UN troop withdrawal and the Talibani offensive to regain control of the country, several hundred members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) has remained active in several districts of Afghanistan. In their bid to establish an Uyghur state in Xinjiang, China, the group facilitates the movement of fighters from Afghanistan to China.