As the US’ final exit from Afghanistan nears, Central Asian nations are looking to help the country stabilize – but on different terms than the US’ 20-year occupation. China’s foreign minister cautioned that without fair governance, Afghanistan stands little chance of joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization – something it badly wants.
“As a major source of military power, the Taliban* should realise its responsibilities for the country and the nation, and resolutely cut off all ties with terrorism, to return to the political mainstream of Afghanistan in a manner that is responsible to the country and the people,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday, according to the South China Morning Post.
Wang made his remarks in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe, which shares an 843-mile-long border with Afghanistan and has mobilized more than 20,000 reserve troops to the border amid a renewed Taliban offensive. More than a thousand Afghan soldiers fled across the border into Tajikistan last week, and more recently, civilian refugees have begun to cross.
Like Tajikistan, China has pledged not to intervene in Afghanistan’s internal affairs unless absolutely necessary. However, members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a Uyghur separatist group and terrorist organization that seeks independence for China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region, has long had ties to Afghan terror groups, including the Taliban and al-Qaeda*. In February 2018, the US…