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Is China losing confidence in the Taliban leadership?

by | Aug 24, 2022 | South Asia

China wants the Taliban to rein in Uyghur and Turkistan Islamic Movement militias’ activities along the Afghan border.

New Delhi: China’s ambassador in Kabul said that more than 20 terrorist groups are present in Afghanistan. Ambassador Wang Yu, without naming terrorist groups, criticised the United States and claimed that they are indulging in dual behaviour in the fight against terrorists.

China is concerned about Uyghur and Turkistan Islamic Movement militias’ activities at the Afghanistan borders. It has time and again taken up this issue with the ministry in Kabul. Chinese fear that these two groups will get sanctuary from the Islamic State groups present in the country and have repeatedly asked the Taliban to intervene.

With the Taliban’s need for recognition and development of economic relations, the Taliban ruling government has promised Chinese officials during meetings in the past months that they will drive out Uyghurs from the borders and will fight against the Turkistan Islamic Movement.

It has been reported earlier that Chinese officials in a meeting with Sirajuddin Haqqani, leader of the Haqqani network and Taliban minister of interior, have discussed these matters. China considers the Turkistan Islamic Movement a threat to their national security.

According to the Chinese media, China’s ambassador in Kabul in a press conference confirmed that they will cooperate in various sectors and will expand their relations with the current Taliban government in Afghanistan.

A Chinese observer says that China, a year after Taliban rule in Afghanistan, has realised its mistake of embracing the Islamist militants and is slowly losing confidence in the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan.

Observers say that even though Beijing is promising full cooperation with China on the economic, diplomatic and political front, on the ground they first want the Taliban to control “anti-China” forces active in Afghanistan. There has not been much support from China to the Afghan people especially emergency aid like food and medicines that are an immediate requirement of the masses.

China is much concerned about the growing strength of ISIS and Al-Qaeda who are increasing their presence and attacking the religious leaders’ sympathisers of the Taliban and slowly gaining control of some areas. The radicalised leaders are taking advantage of the continuing chaos in the region.

The UN, India and many other countries are already worried about the increased footfall of the Islamic State militants in Afghanistan and fear that their territory should not be used by the militants to attack other countries. 

In August 2021, China sought from the Taliban to not allow Afghan soil to become a hub of terrorist activities and provided all kinds of support including financial ones to the Taliban. China which has been eying Afghanistan’s mineral resources for several years decided to include it in Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) interest China but has done little so far. That is because the Chinese are worried about their Sunni Uighurs in Xinjiang teaming up with the Islamic State. Most countries have adopted a wait-and-watch policy toward Afghanistan ever since the Taliban took over. 

Surinder Singh Oberoi
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