A Chinese government on Monday said that they are looking to deepen “friendly and cooperative” relations with Afghanistan, against the backdrop of the Taliban takeover of the country.
Beijing has sought to maintain unofficial ties with the Taliban throughout the US’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, which spurred an advance by the hardliners across the country that culminated in the capture of Kabul on Sunday.
Beijing has long feared Afghanistan could become a staging point for minority Uyghur separatists in the sensitive border region of Xinjiang. But a top-level Taliban delegation met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Tianjin last month, promising that Afghanistan would not be used as a base for militants.
In exchange, China offered economic support and investment for Afghanistan’s reconstruction.
China has repeatedly criticised what it sees as the US’ hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan as a failure of leadership.
For Beijing, a stable and cooperative administration in Kabul would pave the way for an expansion of its Belt and Road Initiative into Afghanistan and through the Central Asian republics, analysts say.
The Taliban meanwhile may consider China a crucial source of investment and economic support.
China has so far only stopped short of officially recognising the Taliban as the new leaders of Afghanistan, but Wang Yi called them a “decisive military and political force” during last month’s meeting in Tianjin.