The Wall Street Journal reported that the Taliban captured Badakhshan province in northeastern Afghanistan this week and now control 85 percent of Afghanistan, including a section of the border with China. According to the comprehensive report, although the border section with China is alpine terrain, there is no cross-border road, but Badakhshan province and Tajik border guard is weak, providing access to Xinjiang, coupled with the Taliban and Xinjiang Uighur armed groups in the past close relations, or cause Beijing alarm.
According to the report, the Taliban are actively easing China’s concerns by trying to gain Beijing’s tacit approval to rule Afghanistan, including its spokesman who stressed that a peace agreement signed by the Taliban in the Qatari capital of Doha last year had committed to not allowing anyone to use Afghanistan against other countries, including China. In an interview with the South China Morning Post on Wednesday, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen was asked if the peace deal included the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a Uighur militant group, and Shaheen said the Taliban would not allow the members to enter the country.
The Wall Street Journal also quoted Shaheen as saying that the Taliban were concerned about the suppression of Muslims, whether in Palestine, Myanmar or China, and would support them through political dialogue with Beijing, but stressed that they would not interfere in China’s internal affairs, and denied that they would join the West in condemning human rights in Xinjiang at the United Nations after coming to power, saying it depended on the situation. He also called China a “friend”, saying that after the withdrawal of U.S. troops, it is necessary to meet with China, the largest investor in Afghanistan, and said he welcomed China’s participation in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, promising to protect the safety of Chinese investors and workers.
As U.S. troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi began a visit to three Central Asian countries bordering Afghanistan, including Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and chaired a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states on Monday (12).