Afghanistan’s Taliban leadership has assured Beijing that it has worked to combat terrorism and regards threats to China as seriously as a threat against its own country.
Speaking to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Niyingchi, Tibet, Muttaqi said that “we have done a lot of work to combat terrorism and we take security threats against China like a challenge to our own”, according to a foreign ministry statement.
“We will not allow any activities that would harm security and stability of China to happen in Afghanistan.”
He also gave an “effective guarantee” of Chinese nationals’ safety in Afghanistan but did not elaborate.
While the Taliban has made previous pledges to clamp down on terrorism, this is understood to be the first time such language has been used in meetings with Chinese officials.
There have been terrorist attacks targeting Chinese nationals in Afghanistan. Five Chinese nationals were injured in December when a Chinese-owned hotel in Kabul was bombed by Islamic State terrorists. A month later, the Afghan foreign ministry building was attacked while a Chinese diplomatic delegation was holding talks inside.
According to the Chinese readout, Wang expressed hope that the Afghan side would continue to fight terrorism and “completely eliminate the terrorist forces of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement” based in Afghanistan.
While Beijing has not officially recognised the Taliban government, Wang said China hoped it could play a more constructive role in international affairs and restated a pledge not to interfere in Afghanistan’s internal matters.
As trans-Himalayan neighbours, the two countries should further strengthen cooperation, promote environmental protection and sustainable development and improve people’s livelihoods, Wang said.
“We would like to continue to help Afghanistan develop its relations with its neighbours and better integrate with regional economic cooperation,” he said.
China is among the few countries – along with Pakistan and Russia – to have maintained a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power in August 2021.
The Trans-Himalaya Forum began on Wednesday and ends on Friday, with discussions ranging from economic cooperation and regional connectivity to climate change. Also attending are Mongolian Deputy Prime Minister Sainbuyan Amarsaikhan, Urmila Aryal, vice-chair of the National Assembly of Nepal, and Pakistan’s caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani.