Aug 16, 2021 - World

China says it will respect "choices of Afghan people" after Taliban takeover

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, political chief of Afghanistan's Taliban, in Tianjin in July 2021.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, political chief of Afghanistan's Taliban, in Tianjin in July. Photo: Li Ran/Xinhua via Getty Images

China will "respect the wishes and choices of the Afghan people" after the Taliban seized Kabul and toppled Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry said Monday, according to the Financial Times.

Why it matters: Beijing’s first official comments since the Taliban installed themselves in the presidential palace in Kabul signifies a willingness to work with a Taliban-led government in Afghanistan.

What they're saying: "The situation in Afghanistan has already undergone a major transformation and we respect the wishes and choices of the Afghan people,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying.

Between the lines: Any cooperation between China and the Taliban will likely be determined by the Taliban's approach to Xinjiang province, in which Beijing has interned more than 1 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities, the Times notes.

  • During meetings with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi last month, senior Taliban officials promised Afghanistan would not be used to harbor terrorists to attack Chinese in Xinjiang, according to the Times.

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