Fifth para, first sentence- For the Taliban….
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday made a surprise stop in Kabul on Thursday, becoming the fifth foreign minister to visit Afghanistan since the Taliban seized power last year. Incidentally, the visit comes at a time when the Islamist regime has been facing condemnation from the international community for its refusal to allow girls access to education.
Wang Yi, who had concluded his visit to Pakistan as the special guest at the 48th OIC foreign minister summit, reached Kabul on Thursday morning, where he was received by the Taliban’s interim Foreign Minister Ameer Khan Muttaqi.
During the meetings with senior Taliban leaders, Wang discussed various bilateral issues, including Afghanistan's role in China's flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), said Abdul Qahar Balkhi, spokesperson of the Taliban's Foreign Ministry.
Mining, transit and air corridor, economic and political cooperation were among other issues discussed in the meeting, according to the statement issued by Balkhi.
For the Taliban, the visit is the most high-profile one since the group came to power last year. Prior to Wang, most foreign ministers who had visited Afghanistan were from regional countries.
He also said Wang emphasized the Chinese policy of non-interference in "Afghan internal affairs" and expressed his "objection over the imposed political and economic sanctions" on Afghanistan.
Despite being critical to the West’s approach to Afghanistan, Beijing has avoided giving recognition to the Taliban government; neither has it criticized the Taliban for its widespread human rights violations and suppression of rights.
Last year, China has been one of a handful of countries that had decided to keep its embassy open after the change of government there.
Since the Taliban takeover, China, however, has sent very limited humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, despite exploding humanitarian needs. It has maintained that the burden of assisting the country lies with the nations responsible for the current situation---a veiled reference to the US and the western countries
Last year in July, weeks before the Taliban’s return to power, a delegation of senior Taliban leaders under Mullah Baradar visited Beijing, where they assured China that anti-Chinese militants, mostly ethnic Uyghurs, will not be allowed to operate from Afghanistan.
Significantly, the Taliban, vocal for the rights of Muslims in non-Muslim countries, has maintained a steady silence on the suppression of the ethnic Uyghurs Muslim in the western Xinjiang province of China.