Beijing, March 8, 2017: In an attempt to persuade the militant group to attach themselves with the peace process in devastated Afghanistan, China hosted a group of top Afghan Taliban Leaders recently; as per a media report published in PTI.
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Sher Abbas Stanikazai, the Afghan Taliban’s Qatar office chief led the delegation of 5 members including- Shahabuddin Dilawar, Jan Muhammad Madani, Salam Hanafi and Saleh, reported the newspaper Express Tribune, quoting sources in Taliban.
The visit has further been confirmed by the people aware of Taliban Qatar office activities. “The visit was part of the relations of the political office with European countries such as Norway, Germany, France, Britain as well as neighbouring and regional countries,” a Taliban source reported to the paper.
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The source, not wanting to be mentioned by name also said that the focus of the relations are to resolve issues through negotiations and bring about peace in Afghanistan.
“Being a major world power, China is the main stakeholder and wants to play its vital role for peace and stability in Afghanistan. That is why it invited the Taliban,” stated another Taliban leader.
Deng Xijun, Chinese special envoy for Afghanistan, visited Kabul and also met Afghan Leaders which includes President Ashraf Ghani, only days after the Taliban trip last month.
“China has always conveyed to the Taliban during meetings that it recognises the Afghan government and the president and that talks are the only option for them,” Deng said. He told Ghani, “China has always encouraged the Taliban to join the peace process.”
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Days after the trilateral meeting in Moscow, of senior officials from Pakistan, Russia and China, the Taliban visited China.
According to regional experts, the failure of the American policy along with subsequent drift in the US-Afghan Policy, vacuum has emerged in the country and region, causing China to actively promote peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman of Pakistan Senate’s Committee on Defence listed some of China’s intentions and interests behind its Afghan peace initiative.
“Firstly, to stop Afghanistan from being a springboard for any possible spillover into China of the lingering instability due to the Afghan civil war, particularly on the sensitive Xinjiang province of China that shares a border with Afghanistan,” Sayed said.
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“Secondly, to coordinate Afghan policy with Pakistan, given the Beijing-Islamabad strategic partnership, so that Afghanistan is not a venue or battleground for a new round of proxy war or a new Cold War detrimental to both the allies’ interests,” he said.
“Thirdly, to provide for a more conducive regional environment and to ensure peace, security and stability via a peace process involving the Kabul regime and the Taliban,” he added.
By Nikita Saraf; Twitter: @niki_saraf