Taliban want China to play ‘huge role’ in rebuilding Afghanistan

BEIJING: China has played a constructive role in promoting peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and is welcome to contribute to the rebuilding the country, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Chinese state media on Friday.

“China is a big country with a huge economy and capacity – I think they can play a very big role in the rebuilding, rehabilitation, reconstruction of Afghanistan,” Shaheen told CGTN television in an interview late on Thursday.

China is ready to deepen “friendly and cooperative” relations with Afghanistan, a government spokeswoman said Monday, after the Taliban seized control of the country.

Beijing has sought to maintain unofficial ties with the Taliban throughout the US’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, which spurred an advance by the insurgents across the country that saw them capture the capital Kabul on Sunday.

China shares a rugged 76-kilometre border with Afghanistan.

Beijing has long feared Afghanistan could become a staging point for minority Uyghur separatists in the sensitive border region of Xinjiang. But a top-level Taliban delegation met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Tianjin last month, promising that Afghanistan would not be used as a base for militants. – Agencies