China ready to maintain communication with new Taliban government; Tajikistan warns of indifference to Afghan people's fate

A day after the Taliban announced its interim government in Afghanistan, packed with hardline leaders of the movement, the group has still a long way to go for getting international recognition

Sep 08, 2021
China - Taliban government

A day after the Taliban announced its interim government in Afghanistan, packed with hardline leaders of the movement, the group has still a long way to go for getting international recognition. However, one thing seems clear that the Taliban regime this time won’t be as isolated as the one in the late 1990s.  China said on Wednesday it is ready to maintain communication with the leaders of the new government in Afghanistan. Beijing also added that the establishment of the new government was a “necessary step” in reconstruction. 

Wang Wenbin, the spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, made the remark in Beijing when asked if they would recognize the new government, according to a report by Reuters. The Taliban drew leaders from its inner high echelons to fill top posts in Afghanistan’s new government, including an associate of the Taliban’s founder as the head of the government.

Wang added, “China respects the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Afghanistan.” China, when the Taliban took power in August, had called for an establishment of an “open and inclusive” government. 

“We hope the new Afghanistan authorities will listen broadly to people of all races and factions, so as to meet the aspirations of its own peoples and the expectations of the international community,” said Wang.

The help from Beijing may not be enough for the Taliban government to ensure the continuous aid flow into the impoverished country. Unlike the US and the EU, China doesn’t provide large aid, development grants; it provides loans, and often at high-interest rates. 

The aid and grants from the West won’t flow without the regime’s recognition. 

Foreign Policy magazine, in its morning brief, wrote, “Haqqani’s appointment will likely stall any calls for international recognition of the new government, and may jeopardize the outcome of an international donor conference set for Sept. 13 in Geneva.”   
The US, on the other hand, has expressed concern over the make-up of the new government--which included no woman cabinet member--and the past actions of some of the members. The Taliban, the State Department Spokesperson Ned Prince said, will be judged on its actions, not words. 

“We have made clear our expectations that the Afghan people deserve an inclusive government,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the European Union reacted by saying the announcement by the group didn’t honor the earlier assurance of including leaders from other groups. However, the EU said it is ready to continue with emergency aid to Afghanistan but will keep a close eye on the new Taliban government.

"The European Union is ready to continue to offer humanitarian assistance," Vice-President of European Commission Maros Sefcovic said, adding that longer-term donor money depended on the Taliban upholding basic freedoms.

"We are looking very, very carefully at how the new government is behaving before engaging," he was quoted as saying by Reuters. 

Tajikistan, an important northern neighbor of Afghanistan, reacted sharply, accusing the international community of not standing with the people of Afghanistan. 

"Indifference to the fate of Afghanistan will lead to an increase in violence, deterioration in the lives of its people, the outbreak of an imposed civil war on the scale of the 90s of the last century," Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon said on Wednesday in his Independence Day speech.
He further added, "I am surprised that all international human rights institutions remain silent and do not show any initiatives to support the rights of the Afghan people," warning that the Afghan problem is affecting entire humanity. 

Tajikistan is also important in the sense that Dushanbe had played a vital role in the late 90s in sustaining the anti-Taliban resistance in the northern pocket of the country. A week earlier, it had warned the Taliban against marginalizing non-Pashtun ethnic groups that constitute 52 percent of its population. 
In the new interim government, of the total 33 members, only two members of the Tajik community were given positions. While Hazara, a Persian-speaking Shia community, which mostly lives on the country’s central highlands, doesn’t find any place in the government.