China’s approach to the Taliban is more cautious than it looks

Experts tell TRT World that Beijing will adopt a careful approach to economic engagement with Afghanistan.

China, Afghanistan

9/17/2021 5:30:00 PM

“Behind the warm words about the Taliban, lies a cautious attitude to a group viewed by some as fundamentalist and allied with terrorist groups that threaten Chinese interests.”

Experts tell TRT World that Beijing will adopt a careful approach to economic engagement with Afghanistan .

referredBeijing has gloated over the American debacle in Afghanistan, which, it is claimed, offers further proof of theBut there is more trepidation in China than meets the eye. Behind the warm words about the Taliban, lies a cautious attitude to a group viewed by some as fundamentalist and allied with terrorist groups that threaten Chinese interests.

The Taliban reportedly hasThe Taliban must abandon its former tradition of “harbouring and even working with terrorist groups” so there can be a “fresh start”, said Wang Huiyao, founder and president of the Center for China and Globalization.. No country has yet recognised the new government, but the Chinese embassy in Kabul remains open.

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'Terrorist groups'= the very very oppressed Muslim minority Uyghurs!! Now TRT on China's side out to eradicate any Urghurs in AFG. That means kill them. France is the one who carries out terrorist operations, as it was recently proven that the French government, in cooperation with Lafarge, was supporting terrorist groups, the movement of ISIS.

Long live Taliban 💚 Al Queeda with the skarves covered by turbans. There you have half of the Taliban. Long live Taliban 💚 Mrs lethica001 i really appreciate your all your efforts with the little startup of R4000 with all joy over me after withdrawing R17,850 you can check my media for testimony i told you i will recommend everyone in South Africa to trade with your team you're the best thank you

talibs using chinese drones stop your shitty propaganda! Nobody believes you anymore.. All of you got some setback from the international community for your support of the terrorist group Taliban, so now you try to please people by trying to make eachother look less ‘supportive’ of terrorists

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Current state of Afghanistan ‘less bad than I would have predicted,’ says foreign policy expertBrookings Institute senior fellow Michael O’Hanlon discussed the current state of Afghanistan under Taliban rule. It’s like living in constant fear of drone strikes and the US military for 20 years makes you reconsider your ways. What’s worst than a gang of child raping murderers taking over a country ? Wtf. So what is less bad? Only chop off 25 heads instead of 100 because a woman walked across the street?

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After the Taliban takeover of Kabul on August 15, the Chinese government struck an upbeat tone. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying called the militant group “clear-headed and rational”, while the special envoy for Afghanistan described it as “friendly”. Beijing had for years built an amicable diplomatic relationship with the movement through secret meetings, which burst out into the open in July when the Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi publicly welcomed a high-level Taliban delegation to the northern city of Tianjin. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid recently referred to China as “our most important partner” which is “ready to invest and rebuild our country”, and the group has consistently refused to criticise Beijing’s alleged oppression of its ethnic Uighur population. China is therefore well-placed to expand its influence in Afghanistan now that the US has left. Breathless western media coverage has predicted a surge of Chinese investment as Beijing seeks to capitalise on NATO’s exit. Beijing has gloated over the American debacle in Afghanistan, which, it is claimed, offers further proof of the failure of the western democratic model and the superiority of China’s policy of ‘non-interference’. But there is more trepidation in China than meets the eye. Behind the warm words about the Taliban, lies a cautious attitude to a group viewed by some as fundamentalist and allied with terrorist groups that threaten Chinese interests. After the July meeting, China’s foreign ministry issued a statement insisting that the Taliban must “make a clean break” with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), an ethnic Uighur militant entity, and other terrorist organisations. Damage at the Chinese Embassy after a suicide bombing in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, blamed on the ETIM in 2016. The Taliban is accused of maintaining links with the ETIM, also known as the Turkistan Islamic Party, which has sought for decades to establish an independent state in China’s far west. (AP) The Taliban reportedly has links to ETIM, and hosted the group in the 1990s during its previous regime. The UN has estimated that there are hundreds of ETIM members in Afghanistan. The Taliban must abandon its former tradition of “harbouring and even working with terrorist groups” so there can be a “fresh start”, said Wang Huiyao, founder and president of the Center for China and Globalization. If the Taliban “can work with all factions” and produce a “secure and peaceful Afghanistan”, then China might recognise the Taliban regime, Wang told TRT World . No country has yet recognised the new government, but the Chinese embassy in Kabul remains open. Lin Minwang, a professor at Fudan University, told TRT World that, “although it is not absolutely certain that the Taliban will cut off ties with terrorist organisations, the Taliban will take China’s core interests into its consideration.” In a recent interview, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said that the new regime would take measures to prevent ETIM from training, fundraising or recruiting fighters on Afghan territory. But, when asked if the Taliban would extradite ETIM members to China, Shaheen “did not answer directly”. In the 1990s, the Taliban constrained ETIM at Beijing’s request, but did not expel it from Afghanistan. There are also concerns in China that the Taliban retains an extremist ideology. Professor Pan Guang of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences said in an that, while the Taliban was different from twenty years ago, its “essence has not changed.”   Zhu Yongbiao, an Afghanistan expert at Lanzhou University, that “on the surface, they will definitely make some changes” but the group’s basic concepts “have not changed much”. “At the core, their regime is still a fundamentalist regime,” according to Zhu. The Chinese public also appears to be sceptical . A video promoting the Taliban was posted on Weibo by state media outlet People’s Daily in August, only to face criticism for ignoring the group’s supposed links to terrorism. It was eventually taken down. Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, left, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi pose for a photo during their meeting in Tianjin, China, on July 28, 2021. While well-positioned to expand its influence post-US departure, Beijing's worries that Afghanistan under the Taliban could again become fertile ground for extremist groups. (Li Ran / Xinhua via AP) China has repeatedly called for an inclusive government in Afghanistan, but the new Taliban cabinet excludes women and members of other political groups, while containing individuals sanctioned by the US and UN. Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi appeared to criticise the cabinet at a recent gathering when he said that the Taliban’s “positive statements” about governance and other issues “must be implemented in specific actions”. Alienating key factions could fuel resistance against the new regime. After the US ousted the Taliban in 2001, it refused to incorporate remnants of the group into the new political order, giving them an incentive to rebel and launch an insurgency. Beijing does not wish to see renewed instability across the border. “If Afghanistan is still in chaos in the future, China has reason to worry that it will likely become a hotbed of terrorist forces,” said Professor Hongda Fan of Shanghai International Studies University. The Chinese government has long been concerned that NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan would destabilise the country and exacerbate threats against China’s interests, including in Pakistan and Central Asia where it has large investments. “After the United States pulls troops out of Afghanistan, terrorist organizations positioned on the frontiers of Afghanistan and Pakistan may quickly infiltrate into Central Asia,” said President Xi in a secret speech