Sat. May 18th, 2024

The Taliban will attend China’s Belt and Road Forum next week, a spokesman said on Saturday, underscoring Beijing’s growing official ties with the administration, despite its lack of formal recognition by any government. Taliban officials and ministers have at times travelled to regional meetings, mostly those focused on Afghanistan, but the Belt and Road Forum is among the highest-profile multilateral summits it has been invited to attend. The forum in Beijing on Tuesday and Wednesday marks the 10th anniversary of President Xi Jinping’s ambitious global infrastructure and energy initiative, billed as recreating the ancient Silk Road to boost global trade. “He will attend and will invite large investors” to Afghanistan, he said. China has been in talks with the Taliban over plans, begun under the previous foreign-backed government, over a possible huge copper mine in eastern Afghanistan. China’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Azizi will continue discussions in Beijing on plans to build a road through the Wakhan corridor, a thin, mountainous strip in northern Afghanistan, to provide direct access to China, Akhundzada said. Officials from China, the Taliban, and neighboring Pakistan said in May they would like Belt and Road to include Afghanistan and for the flagship China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to be extended across the border to Afghanistan. The Taliban has not been formally recognized by any government since taking control of Afghanistan two years ago as U.S. and other foreign forces withdrew. China has boosted engagement with the Taliban, becoming the first country to appoint an ambassador to Kabul since the Taliban took power, and invested in mining projects. Beijing’s ambassador presented his credentials to the Taliban’s acting prime minister last month. Other nations have kept on previous ambassadors or appointed heads of mission in a charge d’affaires capacity that does not involve formally presenting credentials to the government.

By admin