China sets out conditions for recognising next Afghan government

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Taliban fighters pose for a photograph

China has said it is waiting for the establishment of an “open, inclusive, and widely representative” government in Afghanistan before it decides on the issue of recognition.

“If we are going to recognise a government, we will have to wait till the government is formed,” foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said.

“Only after that, will we come to the question of diplomatic recognition,” Mr Zhao told reporters at a daily briefing.

Mr Zhao reiterated Beijing’s hopes for a “a smooth transition” following the Taliban’s sweep to power to avoid further violence or a humanitarian disaster.

“China will continue to support the peaceful reconstruction of Afghanistan and provide assistance to Afghanistan’s economic and social development within its capacity,” Mr Zhao said.

The Taliban must make good on its commitment not to give shelter to terrorists or allow foreign elements to operate within its territory, singling out the East Turkestan Islamic Movement that Beijing blames for attacks in its northwestern region of Xinjiang, which shares a narrow, remote border with Afghanistan.

Beijing long called for the US to leave Afghanistan, but has condemned what it calls the “hasty” retreat of American forces for the current instability.

China has sought good relations with both the former Afghan government and the Taliban, hosting the group’s top political leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, for talks with foreign minister Wang Yi late last month.

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