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Taliban Says Delegation In China For Talks With Beijing Officials

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (center), the Taliban's deputy leader and chief negotiator, is leading the nine-member delegation in China. (file photo)

The Taliban says a nine-member delegation led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the co-founder of the militant group, has held talks with Chinese officials in Tianjin.

"Politics, the economy and issues related to the security of both countries and the current situation of Afghanistan and the peace process were discussed in the meetings," Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem tweeted on July 28.

The two-day visit comes amid an all-out offensive by the Taliban across Afghanistan, with which China shares a border, as the United States continues an accelerated pullout from the country that is targeted for completion by the end of next month.

The militants have been taking districts and border crossings around the country while peace talks with the Afghan government in Qatar have failed to make any substantive progress.

Taliban representatives and Afghan government officials met for talks in the Qatari capital, Doha, on July 17, but little came out of the meeting besides promises of more talks.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the Taliban that Beijing respects Afghanistan's territorial integrity, the Foreign Ministry in Beijing said.

The Taliban delegation assured China they will not allow Afghanistan to be used as a base by groups plotting against another country, Naeem said.

"The Islamic Emirate assured China that Afghanistan's soil would not be used against any country's security," he said. "They (China) promised not to interfere in Afghanistan's affairs, but instead help to solve problems and bring peace."

U.S. President Joe Biden told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on July 23 that the United States too will continue its support for the Afghan government.

Biden also reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to continue supporting the Afghan security forces to defend themselves. NATO leader Jens Stoltenberg on July 27 issued a similar statement.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP
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