China hinted on Monday that it will increase financial assistance to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, saying it will play a positive role in assisting the war-torn country amid global pressure to halt funding to Kabul until the Afghan militant group changes its hardline religious policies, Press Trust of India reported.
In a press conference on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin slammed the US, saying it is the “main perpetrator” of the Afghan crisis and that Washington cannot leave without doing anything to help Afghanistan rebuild.
When asked for his reaction to comments made by Afghanistan’s exiled central bank chief, who stated that the Taliban may seek financial assistance from China instead of the US, Wang said, “I want to stress that the US is the main perpetrator and biggest external factor for the Afghan issue. It cannot leave the mess without doing anything.”
“We hope the US will match its words with deeds and shoulder its responsibility to honour its own commitments in humanitarian assistance and reconstruction,” he said.
When Taliban fighters swept to power in Afghanistan, China was one of the first countries to express a willingness to engage in diplomatic dialogue with them — analysts say it was a pragmatic move, but relations could be “tricky” given Beijing’s strategic interests.
“Unofficially, they’ve been speaking with the Taliban for many years now, hedging their bets,” Derek Grossman, a senior defense analyst at Rand Corporation. told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Wednesday.
Despite the chaotic end to its presence in Afghanistan, the US still has control over billions of dollars belonging to the Afghan central bank, money that Washington is keeping out of the hands of the Taliban, according to a report last week in the New York Times.
Earlier, Germany stated that if the Taliban took over and implemented Sariah law, it would not provide grants to Afghanistan, and the EU stated that no payments would be made to Afghanistan until officials “clarified the situation.”
Wang said, “China always adopts a friendly policy towards entire Afghan people” and provided substantial assistance to socio- economic development to Afghanistan.
“We hope there will be an early end to the chaos and wars in the country, it can resume financial order at an early date. China will also play a positive role in helping the country in self capacity building, peace, reconstruction and improvement of peoples’ livelihoods, he said.
About Taliban’s statement that it will soon announce a political framework for Afghanistan, Wang said, “we noted these report”.
“China’s position on the Afghan issue is consistent and clear cut. We hope Afghanistan can form an inclusive open broad-based government which adopts a foreign and domestic policy that is prudent and moderate so as to echo and meet the aspiration and shared will of the international community and its own people, he said.
When asked about the security of Chinese nationals in Afghanistan in the midst of many countries’ efforts to evacuate their nationals, Wang said China is closely monitoring the security of Chinese institutions and personnel in Afghanistan.
“Now our Embassy there is operating normally. Most Chinese nationals in Afghanistan have returned to China beforehand with the arrangement made by our embassy, he said.
“With regards to the few Chinese who stayed there, our embassy has stayed in close contact with them (and) given them guidelines on strengthening the awareness of safety and taken relevant measures coordinated with the Afghanistan side to offer security guarantees for them, he said.