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Taliban more ‘clear eyed and rational’ than before: China

China on Thursday said it is in talks with the Taliban and called for an “objective judgement” on their actions after it seized power in Afghanistan, saying the militant group appears to be more “clear eyed and rational” and hoped that it will deliver on its promises, including protection of women’s rights.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that although the situation hasn’t cleared up completely, it is believed that the “Afghan Taliban will not repeat the history of the past and now they are clear-eyed and rational” compared to their last rule.

“Actually, the rapid resolution in the country shows that there is a lack of objective judgement in this situation and failure to accurately grasp public opinion in Afghanistan, especially certain Western countries should draw lessons from this,” she said.

Leaders of the Taliban and its spokesperson have openly stated that the militant group will work to resolve the problems faced by the people, meet their aspirations and strive to build an open, inclusive Islamic government, Hua told a media briefing when asked whether China is in talks with the Taliban and Beijing’s conditions for recognising its government.

“Actually, we have been saying on the basis of respecting the sovereignty of the country and the will of various factions, China maintained communication and contacts with the Afghan Taliban during the last couple of days after the major changes have taken place in Afghanistan,” Hua said.

On Wednesday, China said it will decide on extending diplomatic recognition to the Taliban in Afghanistan only after the formation of the government in the country, which it hoped would be “open, inclusive and broadly representative”.

In her media briefing on Thursday, Hua came up with Beijing’s positive assessment of the Taliban in what was seen here as a build-up towards recognising the Taliban government when it is formed.

The Taliban has also stated that it is committed to equality for all, eliminate discrimination and has pardoned former government employees, will protect women’s freedom of speech, employment and educational rights, Hua said, responding to question whether Beijing will demand the protection of rights of women unlike when the group was in power 20 years ago.

The Taliban also said they will take responsible action to protect the safety of the Afghan citizens and foreign missions and would like to develop good relations with other countries.

They also said they will not permit terrorist groups to use Afghanistan territory to threaten other countries, Hua noted.

“We also noted Russian and other countries’ political leaders and international media recognition of the Afghan Taliban’s behaviour after entering Kabul. They believe it is good, positive and practical”, she said.

Hua said, “We hope they (Taliban) will follow through on the positive statement of seeking unity with other political parties and ethnic groups through dialogue and consultation to build a political framework that is broad and inclusive in keeping with national realities in keeping with national realities and people’s support”, she said.

“We hope it will implement moderate and prudent national and foreign policy, curb terrorism and criminal acts and ensure a smooth transition so that people can live free from war and build enduring peace,” she said.

There has been a build up of confrontation in Afghanistan and the US left behind more problems so the peace and reconstruction will not be easy, she said.

“We hope the international community will encourage and support all factions and ethnic groups in Afghanistan to engage in solidarity and cooperation and open a new chapter,” she said.

Referring to reports of people expressing distrust over Taliban’s promise of good behaviour, she said, “we need to listen to words and watch actions”.

“If we don’t keep up with the times and stick to stereotypes in disregard to change of circumstances we will not be able to reach a conclusion in keeping with reality,” she said.

( Originally published on Aug 20, 2021 )

In Video: Taliban in Afghanistan: How Russia, China, Pakistan and other neighbours perceive this development