China to join Pakistan-hosted meeting on Afghanistan, skips India’s parallel conference

2021-11-11 23:21:30 ciwa

This essay is reproduced from: GLOBAL TIMES

By Zhang Hui and Liu Caiyu

Afghan girls pose for photos in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, Sept. 15, 2021.(Photo: Xinhua)

Afghan girls pose for photos in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, Sept. 15, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua)

A Chinese representative will attend the Pakistan-hosted meeting on Afghanistan on Thursday, along with representatives from the US and Russia, and Chinese analysts believe that the four countries which could play a comprehensive role in addressing the plight of Afghanistan are likely to discuss the urgent needs and next step for Afghan Taliban in forming an inclusive government and cracking down on terrorism.

China's Special Envoy for Afghan Affairs Yue Xiaoyong will lead a delegation to the Pakistan-hosted meeting on the Afghan situation on Thursday, and China supports Pakistan hosting the China, US, Russia-plus meeting on Afghanistan, supports all international efforts conducive to peace and stability in Afghanistan and building consensus among all parties, Wang Wenbin, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said at Wednesday's media briefing.

China's decision to join the meeting came a day after Beijing said it was unable to attend a India-hosted meeting on Afghanistan on Wednesday due of "scheduling reasons." Pakistan also skipped India-hosted meeting.

Pakistani media The Dawn reported that the Troika Plus meeting on Afghanistan will be attended by representatives from the four countries who will also meet Afghanistan's acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi in Islamabad. Muttaqi was scheduled to arrive in Pakistan on Wednesday. This was the first visit to Pakistan by an acting Afghan minister since the Taliban took control, The Dawn reported.

Zhu Yongbiao, Director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at Lanzhou University, told the Global Times that China, Russia, the US and Pakistan could have a special and comprehensive play on the Afghan issue, which has already been demonstrated through their actions. The potential of future cooperation is great. For example, Russia could be the coordinator of Central Asian countries, China would make use of its advantages in manufacturing on the economic recovery of the war-stricken country, and the US could drive other developed countries to participate in dealing with the Afghan crisis, Zhu said.

Liu Zhongmin, a professor at the Middle East Studies Institute of the Shanghai International Studies University, told the Global Times on Wednesday that China, Russia, Pakistan and the US are likely to focus on the next step of the Afghan Taliban interim government at the Troika Plus meeting, such as how will the Taliban fulfill its commitment on building an inclusive government and what exact actions Taliban will take on counterterrorism.

Last week's explosion at the biggest military hospital in Kabul that killed at least 25 people has deepened the international community's concerns over the security situation and stability in Afghanistan, and Liu said the Taliban should take stronger and immediate moves to crack down on terrorism.

Meanwhile, the US-led West has reduced their economic aid to Afghanistan, and how major countries should provide humanitarian and economic aid may be another focus of the meeting, Liu said.

As for the US, Zhu said that the US now has a relatively high expectation toward the meeting, especially with the new representative to Afghanistan assuming office.

The US has realized it has suffered a leadership crisis and Thursday's meeting could be a perfect occasion for the country to address its plight, and the US is also concerned with how to deal with Afghan refugees and whether terrorism in Afghanistan may spill over to the US, Zhu said.

However, Liu said that the US' participation may also pose a challenge to the meeting, as its irresponsible pullout has resulted in today's situation in Afghanistan, but it may use the opportunity to force the Afghan Taliban to develop the country according to the US' will.  

On Wednesday, India held a conference on Afghanistan with regional countries including Russia, Iran and five central Asian states, although representatives from China and Pakistan did not attend.

Chinese analysts said India is using the meeting to show its influence in regional affairs and strike a blow to Pakistan, and its selfish desire would make it difficult for the meeting to have any real effect.