The Taliban group in Afghanistan swept through the northeastern province of Badakhshan this week, reaching territory in the mountainous border region with China’s Xinjiang and eager to gain Beijing’s acquiescence for its rule in the country, the Wall Street Journal revealed this Saturday.
As the United States almost completes its withdrawal from Afghanistan, China’s influence in the region is growing. And that influence is, in part, through the strategic relationship between China and Pakistan, the Taliban’s main backer. While the Taliban have not been as reticent as Central Asian countries bordering them about the mass incarceration of Muslims and other human rights abuses by Chinese authorities in Xinjiang, the report said, the Taliban are committed to the global Islamic cause on the one hand, and have convinced Beijing that they will not threaten China’s stability once they are in power on the other.
The report quoted a senior Taliban official at the Taliban’s political office in Doha, Qatar, as saying that the Taliban is concerned about the oppression of Muslims, whether in Palestine, Myanmar or China, but that the group will not interfere in China’s internal affairs.
For his part, Taliban group spokesman Shahin said that while concerned about the plight of Uighurs in Xinjiang, the Taliban would seek to help fellow Muslims through political dialogue with the Chinese government. We don’t know the details,” he said. But if we have the details, we will demonstrate our concern.”
But when asked whether a Taliban-led Afghan government would join the West in condemning human rights abuses in Xinjiang at the United Nations, Shaheen did not answer positively. He said any such decision would have to be made based on the realities of the situation at the time.