Friday, September 17, 2021

We’ll maintain communication with new Afghan govt – China

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China says it is ready to maintain communication with the leaders of the new Taliban government in Afghanistan, calling its establishment a “necessary step” in reconstruction.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin made the comment at a daily briefing in Beijing when asked if China would recognize the new government, whose leaders were named on Tuesday.

The Taliban drew from its inner high echelons to fill top posts in Afghanistan’s new government on Tuesday, including an associate of the Islamist militant group’s founder as premier and a wanted man on a U.S. terrorism list as interior minister.

World powers have told the Taliban the key to peace and development is an inclusive government that would back up its pledges of a more conciliatory approach.

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They have also told the Taliban that upholding human rights, after a previous 1996-2001 period in power marked by bloody vendettas and oppression of women would go a long way toward peace in Afghanistan.

Taliban supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada, in his first public statement since the Aug. 15 seizure of the capital Kabul by the insurgents, said the Taliban were committed to all international laws, treaties, and commitments not in conflict with Islamic law.

China respects the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, Wang said.

After the Taliban took power in August, China had called for an “open and inclusive” government to be established.

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“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.

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“In the future, all matters of governance and life in Afghanistan will be regulated by the laws of the Holy Sharia,” he said in a statement, in which he also congratulated Afghans on what he called the country’s liberation from foreign rule.

The names announced for the new government, three weeks after the Taliban swept to military victory as U.S.-led foreign forces withdrew and the weak Western-backed government collapsed, gave no sign of an olive branch to its opponents.

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The United States said it was concerned by the track records of some of the Cabinet members and noted that no women had been included.

“The world is watching closely,” a U.S. State Department spokesperson said.

Afghans who enjoyed major progress in education and civil liberties over the 20 years of U.S.-backed government remain fearful of Taliban intentions and daily protests have continued since the Taliban takeover, challenging the new rulers.

Reuters/NAN

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