ISLAMABAD: Lauding Pakistan’s peace and reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan, China had reiterated its commitment to contributing to the process.
“China encourages and supports peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban, and commends the important role in pushing forward the peace talk played by relevant parties and Pakistan in particular,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
The comments come days after Afghan leaders pointed fingers at Pakistan for the recent spate of attacks in Kabul.
Pakistan hosted the first ever face-to-face talks between representatives of the Afghan government and senior leaders of the Afghan Taliban. China had also participated in the talks held in popular tourist resort Murree.
The second round of talks scheduled for July 31 were postponed after confirmation of the death of Taliban supremo Mullah Omar. Pakistan had said the talks were postponed on a request by the Taliban.
“The Chinese side is ready to cooperate with all parties and play a constructive role in the extensive and inclusive peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan as always,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said in remarks on the reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
She told her weekly briefing in Beijing on Friday that the Chinese side always stood for the “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned” reconciliation process, believing the peace talk is the realistic way out to solve the Afghanistan issue.
“It is hoped that all parties would stick to the right direction, build up confidence and determination on the peace talk, and make continuous efforts to realise lasting peace in Afghanistan,” Ms Hua said.
Pakistani analysts believe Beijing wants to play an active role in political reconciliation process.
Senate’s Defence Committee chairman Mushahid Hussain said China was more than willing to play a proactive role to promote peace in Afghanistan, as it has already hosted meetings with the Taliban in Xinjiang earlier this year.
“China’s readiness, willingness and ability to play a role in promoting peace talks among warring Afghan factions has the full support of both Pakistan and the US,” he told The Express Tribune.
“This is also the single most important strategic development since the Americans announced their military exit from Afghanistan after their failed and flawed intervention following the 9/11 attacks,” said Hussain.
China had hosted Taliban leaders in November at a time when President Ashraf Ghani had concluded his visit to China, which was his first foreign visit since he assumed office in late September. Taliban had officially confirmed their visit to China.
Taliban sources say Chinese officials had also visited Taliban political negotiators in Qatar as part of their efforts to push for political solution to the Afghan problem.
Afghan analysts also have a similar approach for China role.
Ahmadullah Ahmadzai, an Afghan political analysts and columnist said China wants to play key role and it can do it.
“In regional countries, Taliban can trust in China and the US also wants to withdraw from Afghanistan and wants China to play key role in reconciliation,” Ahmadzai told The Express Tribune on Saturday.
Despite Afghan leaders and security agencies pointing fingers at Pakistan for the recent spate of attacks in Kabul, leaders from both countries agreed upon joint efforts to defeat terrorism.
During a meeting between the visiting Afghan peace delegation and adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad on Thursday discussion were held on the revival of suspended talks with the Taliban.