Beijing wants the embassy in Kabul to continue operating and “our relations are strengthened compared to the past,” said a Taliban spokesman on Twitter on Friday. The Chinese government confirmed the statements. Meanwhile, the EU imposed conditions on the Taliban for further aid payments and diplomatic contacts. The announcement of a government for Afghanistan, which is expected on Friday, is now expected on Saturday at the earliest.
Chinese embassy in Kabul still in operation
China is signaling to the new rulers in Afghanistan as the first great power that they are accommodating. Beijing will continue to operate its embassy in Kabul, Taliban spokesman Suhail Schahin said on Twitter on Friday after Abdul Salam Hanafi, a member of the Taliban’s political office in Qatar’s capital Doha, apparently spoke to Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Wu Jianghao on the phone.
Support in the fight against Corona
The People’s Republic also wants to “continue and increase” its humanitarian aid for Afghanistan, especially in the fight against the corona pandemic, the Taliban spokesman assured.
Foreign office spokesman Wang Wenbin confirmed the information. In addition to building “open and integrative political structures” and “moderate and stable domestic and foreign policy”, China hopes for a “clear break between the Taliban and all terrorist groups,” he said.
Taliban are hoping for economic support
China had accused the United States of hasty and poorly planned withdrawal from Afghanistan and had agreed to “friendly and cooperative” relations with the Taliban. Beijing has different interests in Afghanistan: On the one hand, the government wants to avoid the Islamists supporting rebels of the Muslim Uyghur minority in rebelling against the Chinese leadership in the Xinjiang region bordering Afghanistan.
On the other hand, according to experts, Beijing sees new opportunities in Afghanistan for investments and securing important raw materials such as copper and lithium. The Taliban, on the other hand, are hoping for economic support from China that cannot be expected from Western countries for the time being.
EU makes demands on the Taliban
The EU gave the extremists conditions on Friday for further aid payments and diplomatic contacts. The EU foreign representative Josep Borrell said in the Slovenian town of Kranj that the foreign ministers of the 27 member states had agreed in principle on joint “touchstones” for the expected Taliban government in Kabul. This includes free travel for European citizens and Afghans as well as free access for humanitarian workers.
Borrell also mentioned respect for women’s rights and freedom of the press, the formation of an “inclusive and representative government” and a promise by the Taliban that Afghanistan should not become a haven for terrorists again. The EU foreign representative emphasized that contacts with the Taliban did not amount to official “recognition”.
Russia wants to cultivate relations with Kabul
Russian President Vladimir Putin also commented on possible relations with the Islamists: He spoke out in favor of “civilized relations” and “observance of civilized rules” so that diplomatic relations with Kabul could be cultivated. Moscow is particularly concerned about the security of the former Soviet republics in Central Asia, which border Afghanistan, but has been in contact with the Taliban for years.
The formation of a government in Afghanistan has been postponed for the time being
Meanwhile, the Taliban postponed their formation of a government: A Taliban spokesman in Kabul told the AFP news agency that the new government would be presented on Saturday at the earliest. In Kabul, around 30 women took to the streets to protest for participation in the government. The Taliban leadership had previously made it clear that there would be no women in the cabinet.
The Afghan airline Ariana has meanwhile announced the resumption of suspended domestic air traffic. The United Arab Emirates said on Friday that they would send a plane with “emergency medical aid and food” to “thousands of families” in Afghanistan. The United Nations had previously announced the resumption of humanitarian flights to parts of the country.