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Taliban’s Baradar meets Wang Yi in Beijing–Is the Taliban- China Romance in the air?

Mullah Baradar Akhund with his delegation in China

The Taliban delegation led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is in China. It was announced by the group’s spokesperson M. Naeem on Wednesday.

“Dear Mullah Baradar Akhund, Political Deputy and Head of the Political Bureau of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, on 7/27/2021, at the official invitation of China, traveled to China for two days at the head of a high-ranking delegation of 9 people,” said Naeem in his post on twitter.

In a series of posts, the spokesperson said, “During this visit, separate meetings were held with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Deputy Foreign Minister and Chinese Special Representative for Afghanistan.

The meetings focused on political, economic and security issues related to the two countries, the current situation in Afghanistan and the peace process.

The Taliban said that China pledged to continue and expand its cooperation with the Afghan people, saying that they would not interfere in Afghanistan's affairs, but would help solve problems and build peace. The group said that it has assured the Chinese Foreign Minister that once in power, the Afghan territory would not be used against the security of any country.

This is the first meeting between the Taliban and the Chinese after the US decision to withdraw its troops by the end of August. Since then the Taliban has been launching massive attacks on the Afghan government and has claimed that it controlled 85% of the country including Badakhshan which shares a 91 kilometer border with China.

About two weeks ago, Suhail Shaheen assured Chinese:  “China is a friendly country and we welcome it for reconstruction and developing Afghanistan…if Chinese have investments, of course we will ensure their safety.”

On the sensitive issue of whether the Taliban supports Uyghur militants against China in neighboring Xinjiang, Shaheen made it clear “we care about the oppression of Muslims, be it in Palestine, in Myanmar, or in China, and we care about the oppression of non-Muslims anywhere in the world. But what we are not going to do is interfere in China's internal affairs.”


This pleased  Beijing, which appears to be “keen” to engage with the group, should the group regain control over Afghanistan.

Beijing hosted a Taliban delegation in 2019, but back-door links with the insurgents stretch back longer–through Pakistan. Communist Party leaders in Beijing and the fundamentalist Taliban have little ideological common ground, but due to China’s ambitious Belt and Road projects,  mutual self-interest overshadows sensitive differences.

On July 14, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed three priorities for Afghanistan. First, to avoid the further spread of the war in Afghanistan, especially an all-out civil war. Second, restart intra-Afghan negotiations as soon as possible and realize political reconciliation. Third, prevent all kinds of terrorist forces from gaining ground in Afghanistan.

Last Saturday, after the meeting of Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Wang Yi, it was decided that both the countries would “launch joint actions.”

“We will work together to combat terrorism and push all major forces in Afghanistan to draw a clear line against terrorism, firmly combat the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and other terrorist forces, and resolutely stop Afghanistan from becoming a hotbed of terrorism,” Wang said.