West has left behind a catastrophe in Afghanistan, learn lessons from it, resist imposing own models on nations, said a combative China at UNSC

Displaying a soft tilt towards the Taliban, which has captured power in Afghanistan, a country in which it has developed a growing and strategic stake in recent years, China called for respecting the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the South Asian nation, and the rights of the Afghan people to determine their own future

Sep 01, 2021
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China envoy at UNSC

Displaying a soft tilt towards the Taliban, which has captured power in Afghanistan, a country in which it has developed a growing and strategic stake in recent years, China called for respecting the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the South Asian nation, and the rights of the Afghan people to determine their own future.

Addressing the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which passed a strong resolution on Afghanistan - China and Russia abstained  -  Chinese Ambassador Geng Shuang blamed the chaos in the country on the “hasty” and “disorderly” withdrawal of foreign troops – US and it North Atlantic Treaty Association (NATO) allies.

“Relevant countries should learn from the lessons, truly respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, and genuinely respect the rights of the Afghan people to determine their own future.

“It is hoped that relevant countries will effectively change the wrong practice of imposing their own models on others and change the hegemonic practice of imposing sanctions or even using force at every turn.

“These countries should be responsible for what they have done in the past 20 years, and fulfill their commitments towards the peaceful rebuilding of Afghanistan,” the Chinese envoy said in his explanation of the vote in which China abstained on Tuesday. The English text of his address was available later. 

Ambassador Shuang also criticized the imposition of unilateral sanctions and seizing and freezing Afghanistan’s overseas assets. While the IMF has halted Afghanistan’s access to the lending agency’s funds, the US government has stopped cash shipments and frozen Afghan assets.

The envoy alleged that the foreign forces have left behind the “huge catastrophe they have created” but shifted the responsibility to Afghanistan’s neighboring countries and the Security Council.

“The actions of foreign troops in Afghanistan in the past 20 years, including the criminal activities carried out by the United States and Australian forces for the indiscriminate killing of civilians, must not be wiped out, and must continue to be investigated,” he said in a strong indictment.

He also accused the US of causing “casualties of innocent civilians” during its recent retaliatory attack on the Islamic State after the Kabul Airport bombing and said America should refrain from “indiscriminately bombing”  the civilian populated areas.
 
The Chinese envoy repeated Beijing’s stand that the international community should engage with the Taliban, and actively provide them with guidance.

“The international community should provide Afghanistan with urgently needed assistance for the economy, livelihood and humanitarian needs to help the new authority maintain the normal operations of governing institutions, maintain public order and stability, curb currency depreciation and price increase, and embark on the path of the peaceful reconstruction as soon as possible,” he said.

While condemning the Kabul Airport terrorist bombings, he said it “once again proved that the war in Afghanistan did not achieve the goal of eliminating terrorist groups”.

The UN Security Council's resolution under India's presidency demanded the territory of Afghanistan not be used to threaten any country or shelter terrorists and that it expects the Taliban to adhere to commitments made by it regarding the safe and orderly departure from the country of Afghans and all foreign nationals.

The resolution sponsored by France, UK and the US, saw 13 members voting in favor, none against and permanent, veto-wielding members Russia and China abstaining.

Shuang said the countries concerned circulated the draft resolution last Friday evening, “demanding action to be taken on Monday.

“China has huge doubts about the necessity and urgency of adopting this resolution and the balance of its content. Despite this, China has still participated constructively in the consultations and put forward important and reasonable amendments together with Russia. Unfortunately, our amendments have not been fully adopted.," he said.

“China has always opposed imposing or forcefully pushing for resolution by any sponsors. Based on the above considerations China has abstained from this draft resolution," Shuang added.

China has been engaging with the Taliban of late and is believed to be striking up a quid pro quo arrangement of backing the regime in return for Kabul putting curbs on East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) fighters, based mostly in Badakshan province in northern Afghanistan, who aim to 'liberate' Xinjiang Uighurs from Chinese rule.

Also, Afghanistan is crucial for China for its ambitious global infrastructural development strategy Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for which it is making huge investments in various countries, including Pakistan where the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) involves a large number of projects. China’s strategy is to stretch the projects to Central Asia through Afghanistan, for which it is likely leveraging its close ties with Pakistan.

(SAM)