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Chinese Foreign Minister In Qatar For 'In-Depth Exchange' With Taliban Representatives

Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (left) and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a meeting in Tianjin earlier this year.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is in Qatar this week for high-level meetings with Taliban representatives, the Foreign Ministry said.

The talks, which are to continue on October 26, will "provide an opportunity to have an in-depth exchange of views on Afghanistan’s situation and issues of joint concern," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on October 25 at a daily briefing.

"Since August this year, the situation in Afghanistan has undergone fundamental changes and the Afghan people have a historic opportunity to independently decide the country’s destiny," Wang Wenbin said, adding that Afghanistan has many challenges and is in urgent need of external support.

"As a traditional friendly neighbor and partner of Afghanistan, China always called for dialogue and contact to guide the development of the Afghan situation in a positive direction and help the Afghan people to get over difficulties," he said.

China has urged the Taliban to keep border crossings open, while offering $31 million in humanitarian assistance along with 3 million doses of Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines.

Beijing long opposed operations by U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Since the Taliban seized power in August, it has kept its embassy open in Kabul but has not recognized the Taliban-led government.

Chinese officials have called for an inclusive government in Afghanistan but said virtually nothing about the Taliban’s restrictions on women’s access to work and education and other human rights issues.

It has urged the group not to provide a safe haven for Islamic militants seeking independence for the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang.

China has previously signed deals for oil, gas, and copper mining in Afghanistan, but they have long been dormant.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters