China, Pakistan back early settlement of afghan issue: Report

BEIJING, Jan 07 (INP): China, Pakistan are consistently engaged in bringing Taliban on negotiating table, seeking peace and stability in the region.

According to a report, published in the Chinese officials newspaper, the Global Times on Monday, China, Pakistan being close friend worked together for the negotiated settlement of the Afghan issue. Both are availing all possible opportunities for the early settlement of the issue, the report said quoting diplomatic sources.

China’s role as a facilitator will be acceptable to the government and the Taliban because it has always seen Afghanistan as a partner country.

A stable Afghanistan is also inevitable for China’s security and economy. Unrest in Afghanistan is a threat to the entire region and China cannot afford such instability in its neighborhood. It ought to engage in Afghanistan for its own national and economic stability.

The added, “Instability in Afghanistan has a direct impact on the security of China’s western provinces, especially Xinjiang. The East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which seeks independence for Xinjiang, is believed to be running training camps in the Wakhan Corridor and entering Xinjiang through Afghanistan’s Wakhan to radicalize Uyghurs Muslims or stage attacks in China.

The ETIM, which is also linked to the Taliban, is a serious threat to China’s security.

Currently, China is Afghanistan’s biggest investor. During 2002-13, China gave $240 million in aid to Afghanistan. In 2014, it gave $80 million in aid and promised an additional $240 million over the next three years. In September 2017, China extended $90 million for development projects in Afghanistan’s Badakhshan Province.

Afghanistan needs China’s economic, financial and technical resources and its political influence at the global stage to get the support of other countries for peace talks.

China’s Belt and Road initiative includes the building of highways and railways to better connect South Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East. Afghanistan is the geographical hub among these regions and only a peaceful Afghanistan can help China connect the regions.

In December 2017, China announced that it is willing to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan but did not provide details. Its extension to war-torn areas of Afghanistan will not be feasible. That is why China first wants to resolve the conflict in Afghanistan.

INP/J/SB/AK