On Thursday, the Foreign Office praised China’s engagement with the Taliban, emphasising the significance of Beijing’s participation in the Afghan peace process.
“We believe that China being a neighbouring country to Afghanistan does have an important role to play in the Afghan peace process,” FO spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said at his weekly media briefing.
On Wednesday in Tianjin, China, a nine-member Taliban delegation headed by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the head of the Afghan insurgents’ Doha-based political office, met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and other officials.
The discussions focused on the Taliban’s ties with other terrorist organisations, notably the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, as well as peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.
The visit came as the Taliban made significant advances in Afghanistan while also expanding their outreach to neighbouring nations in an attempt to acquire legitimacy.
“We have consistently maintained that at this critical juncture in the Afghan peace process, all energies must be focused on reaching an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement in Afghanistan. Reduction in violence leading to ceasefire is particularly significant in this regard,” the spokesman further said.
Mr Chaudhri emphasised that Pakistan and China have similar attitudes to the Afghan issue and that both countries are committed to facilitating and supporting an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process.
Meanwhile, in a statement from Delhi, Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Arindam Bagchi criticised Taliban advances while commenting on the meeting between FM Wang and the Taliban group.
“Unilateral will of imposition by any party will not be democratic, cannot lead to stability, and cannot provide legitimacy,” Bagchi said.
In recent months, India has attempted to reach out to the Taliban.
Mr Chaudhri criticised India, saying it was “among the spoilers of the peace process”. He pointed to what he called Indian opposition to the Afghan peace process and the efforts being made by the international community in this regard.
Meanwhile, in response to a query regarding the Joint Cooperation Committee’s (JCC) postponed meeting, he stated that new dates for the meeting will be published shortly. He said that the matter was addressed by China’s and Pakistan’s foreign ministers during their recent strategic conversation.
After a bomb assault on a bus bringing Chinese employees to the Dasu dam construction site, the conference was postponed. The spokesperson, on the other hand, stated that the JCC meeting was not postponed as a result of the terrible Dasu event.