Representatives of the Islamic Fundamentalist Taliban Group Welcomed by Chinese Foreign Minister in Chinese City of Tianjin, July 28 | Photo: Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi received a delegation of nine Taliban representatives in Tianjin city on Wednesday. The meeting is part of a two-day visit by the Islamic fundamentalist group to China to discuss peace talks and security issues as ties between the Asian country and the Taliban tighten ahead of the full withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan.

The meeting comes as the Taliban use an offensive to regain control of Afghanistan, which has already conquered important border posts with its neighbors Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and more recently Pakistan.

China hopes the Taliban “will prioritize the interests of Afghanistan, maintain their engagement in peace negotiations, uphold the goal of peace, create a positive image and adopt an inclusive policy,” according to the Chinese ministry report. Foreign Affairs. The Chinese government has also said it expects the Taliban to distance itself from terrorist groups.

Creating a positive image is part of the Taliban’s current strategy, according to Tanguy Baghdadi, professor of international politics. The expert explains that the Taliban have taken advantage of the fact that they have already sat down to negotiate with the United States to promote a new international image, showing that the “new Taliban” are ready to stabilize Afghanistan.

“What is curious is that there is some credibility in this speech, given that the Taliban have fiercely reclaimed Afghan territory at the expense of government authority, entrenched in Kabul,” Baghdadi said on his speech. Twitter profile, referring to the recent Taliban. offensives, which are said to be negotiating peace with the government of President Ashraf Ghani.

“The Taliban, speaking like a real government, have already announced that they are ready to receive Chinese investments. The meeting was held in the Chinese city of Tiajin, with such tranquility that it would be possible to say that the Taliban, in fact, has become the new government of the country, ”added the expert.

When the US troop withdrawal was agreed between Donald Trump’s administration and the Taliban in 2020, the militant group pledged to negotiate with Ghani, but little progress had been made in more than a year.

Barnett Rubin, a former US State Department official and senior researcher at New York University’s Center for International Cooperation, told the Wall Street Journal that Beijing was “tired” of the US-led peace efforts and “tried to use his influence to persuade and possibly pressure the Taliban to become seriously involved in the peace process.”

Despite its proximity to the Taliban, China continues to formally recognize the Ghani government, with whom it also maintains a dialogue.

China’s interest in Afghanistan

Groups considered terrorist by China are believed to be operating in Afghanistan, such as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, which the Chinese government says is also active in Xinjiang province. Whoever takes over the government of Afghanistan in the future, China wants to neutralize what it sees as a direct threat to national security – noting that the two countries share some 90 kilometers of border.

The Taliban delegation pledged Wednesday “not to allow anyone to use Afghan deception against China.”

Another factor is the expansion of the Belt and Road Initiative’s infrastructure program in Afghanistan, a country that sits in a key geostrategic location, connecting South Asia and the Middle East and Central Asia. Many Chinese projects launched in the country have stalled due to the violence, so securing the peace could lead to new business.

Commenting on the Chinese government’s meeting with the Taliban, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said China’s involvement in Afghanistan “could be a positive thing” if the Asian giant seeks a “peaceful solution to the conflict” and a “truly representative and inclusive”. government.