Rejecting Afghan and Indian concerns, China’s newly appointed special envoy for Afghanistan Sun Yuxi applauded Pakistan for fighting terrorism in the region, The Hindu reported on Monday.
The former ambassador to both Afghanistan and India said that the the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) “has been effective in fighting against terrorism," while refuting claims that Pakistan was involved in terrorist activities in Afghanistan. Yuxi was addressing his first media conference in Beijing after being appointed as China's envoy to Afghanistan.
When asked about Afghan President Hamid Karzai's claims that a Pakistan-based militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, was behind the attack by gunmen on an Indian Consulate in Herat on May 23, the envoy said, "I think as an agency for the government and military for Pakistan, the ISI has been effective in fighting against terrorism."
"As for the specific [Herat] case, I have not been following regional developments for some time but I do believe that the Pakistan government or any responsible agency of Pakistan will only fight against terrorism instead of being involved with any terrorist groups,” said Sun while talking to media.
Sun, who was appointed special envoy last week, added that he hoped to work closely with both India and Pakistan.
“As special envoy, I will keep a close working relationship with counterparts from India and Pakistan so as to contribute to peace and fighting terrorism.”
“I want to tell my colleagues from India and Pakistan that I know that both countries are making efforts to safeguard peace and stability and helping Afghanistan with reconstruction,” he said.
Sun is expected to travel to Islamabad and meet with top government and military leaders to discuss the situation in Afghanistan following his visit to Afghanistan this week.
He also spoke about terror concerns in China involving the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) which is thought to have ties with Afghan-based groups and is fighting for independence in the western Xinjiang region of the country.
“When I was ambassador in Afghanistan, particularly before the September 11 attacks, hundreds of people coming from Xinjiang were receiving training in Afghanistan,” he said, adding that the war in Afghanistan dealt “a heavy blow” to those groups.
Sun reassured that China would continue to invest and develop in infrastructure projects in Afghanistan which include building a transport and electrical power network covering the whole country, constructing residential communities and developing mineral resources.
The new emissary said that he was 'optimistic' about Afghanistan's future in light of the US troops’ withdrawal.
"The Afghan government is now in place for 10 years and should begin to shoulder major responsibility,” he said. “The US is beginning to withdraw security forces and we feel happy about this. We also welcome the fact that some military bases of the US are still in operation.”