World Taliban tell China Afghanistan will not be base for separatists
Taliban leader ‘favours political settlement’ to Afghan conflict
Announcement comes amid group’s military advances and as peace talks between Afghan gov’t and Taliban resume in Doha.The announcement on Sunday comes as representatives of the Afghan government and Taliban armed fighters sat down for a new round of talks in Doha over the weekend, stirring hopes that the long-stalled peace talks were being resuscitated.
A top-level Taliban delegation visiting China assured Beijing the group will not allow Afghanistan to be used as a base for plotting against another country, an insurgent spokesman said Wednesday.
The delegation is in China for talks with Beijing officials, spokesman Mohammad Naeem told AFP, as the insurgents continue a sweeping offensive across Afghanistan -- including areas along their shared border.
Their frontier is just 76 kilometres (47 miles) long -- and at a rugged high altitude without a road crossing -- but Beijing fears Afghanistan could be used as a staging ground for Uyghur separatists in Xinjiang.
Russia to Conduct Mock Air Raids Near Afghanistan Border, Says No Real Strikes Planned
"You are confusing us with the Americans or the experience that we 'carried over' from the Soviet times," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.The Russian Defense Ministry stated Thursday that Su-25SM attack aircraft of the Central Military District's aviation fleet based in allied Kyrgyzstan were set to take part in joint Russian-Uzbek aerial exercises from July 30 to August 20. The ministry said that the "practical part of the training event will take place at the Termez training ground in the area bordering Afghanistan.
"The Islamic Emirate assured China that Afghanistan's soil would not be used against any country's security," Naeem said.
"They (China) promised not to interfere in Afghanistan's affairs, but instead help to solve problems and bring peace."
Taliban officials have cranked up their international diplomacy in recent months, seeking global recognition for when they hope to return to power.
They have made sweeping advances across Afghanistan since May, when US-led foreign forces began the last stage of a withdrawal due to be completed next month.
Beijing hosted a Taliban delegation in 2019, but back-door links with the insurgents stretch back longer, through Pakistan.
Video: Thousands of Afghan families flee fighting in former Taliban bastion (AFP)
The Taliban explained
The Afghan armed group has emerged as a strong player as US forces pull out of Afghanistan after 20 years.The armed group was removed from power in a US-led invasion in 2001 following the September 11 attacks on US soil, but it gradually regained strength, carrying out numerous attacks on foreign as well as Afghan forces in the past 20 years.
Communist Party leaders in Beijing and the fundamentalist Taliban have little ideological common ground, but experts feel shared pragmatism could see mutual self-interest trump sensitive differences.
For Beijing, a stable and cooperative administration in Kabul would pave the way for an expansion of its Belt and Road Initiative into Afghanistan and through the Central Asian republics.
The Taliban, meanwhile, would consider China a crucial source of investment and economic support.
"China can deal with the Taliban... but they still find the Taliban's religious agenda and motivations inherently discomforting," Andrew Small, author of "The China–Pakistan Axis", told AFP earlier this month.
"They have never been sure how willing or able the Taliban really are to enforce agreements on issues such as harbouring Uyghur militants."
The Taliban's campaign has so far seen them capture scores of districts, border crossings and encircle several provincial capitals.
Government forces have abandoned some rural districts without a fight, but are digging in to defend provincial capitals even as the insurgents tighten a noose around the cities.
Rights groups have accused the insurgents of committing atrocities in territories under their control, including in the border town of Spin Boldak, where Afghan officials accuse Taliban fighters of killing around 100 civilians.
The nine-member Taliban team in China is led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, co-founder of the hardline movement.
Taliban capture first Afghan provincial capital as US, NATO forces withdraw, report says .
Taliban fighters reportedly have captured their first provincial capital Friday since U.S. and NATO troops began pulling out of Afghanistan: the city of Zaranj in southern Nimroz province.The group has posted images on social media showing insurgents inside the local airport and posing for photographs at the entrance to the city, according to the Associated Press. Nimroz is sparsely populated in a region that’s mainly desert and Zaranj has about 50,000 residents.