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Delegation of Top Afghan Taliban leaders hosted by China – Report

China hosts Delegation of Top Afghan Officials as a part of its initiative to promote peace in Pakistan with some personal interests

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The Soldiers Fighting for Peace; Source: Pixabay
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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

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350 Chinese Cities Get Better Air Quality

In the first three quarters of this year, 7 out of 20 cities with the worst air quality were in northern Shanxi province

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Officials told CNN that the Chinese military did not intercept the US aircraft during their mission.
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More than half of China’s cities saw air quality improve year-on-year in September, the Chinese Environment Ministry has said.

The average density of PM 2.5 stood at 25 micrograms per cubic meter in September in 338 cities, down 16.7 per cent from the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

These cities enjoyed good air quality on 90.8 per cent of the days last month, up 2.6 per cent, Xinhua news agency said.

Air Quality
Air pollution can also damage your kidneys. wikimedia commons

The world’s most populous nation has over 600 cities and is grappling with chronic pollution which kills about one million people annually.

China is the world’s biggest coal producer and alone burns half of it, leading to severe pollution. The country is also the largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.

However, the government has cracked down heavily on the polluting industries, shutting many of them. In July, the government released a three-year action plan to tackle the problem.

It also punishes top officials for not doing enough to rein in pollution.

Beijing is no longer the world’s most polluted city.

Air quality

Air quality
Buildings are seen on a hazy day in Xiangyang, Hubei province, China. VOA.

In the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the share of days with good air quality in September stood at 79.2 per cent, a year-on-year increase of 27.8 percentage points, while the PM 2.5 density of the region dropped by 33.3 per cent on year to 36 micrograms per cubic meter, the Ministry was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

In the first three quarters of this year, 7 out of 20 cities with the worst air quality were in northern Shanxi province, China’s coal-producing hub.

Also Read: Sundar Pichai Clears Google’s China Centric Plans

According to the action plan released in July, by 2020, emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide should have dropped by more than 15 per cent over the 2015 levels, while cities that fail to meet the requirement of PM 2.5 density should see a decline of more than 18 per cent from 2015 levels. (IANS)