Chinese Foreign Minister Makes Surprise Visit to Afghanistan

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in the Afghan capital Kabul on Thursday in a surprise visit to meet with Afghanistan’s Taliban leaders, to discuss various issues including the extension of political relations.

Taliban Acting Foreign Minister Mawlavi Amir Khan Muttaqi received Wang Yi in Kabul Airport, where they “will discuss a range of issues in areas of economy, and transit cooperation besides extension of political relations,” state-run Bakhtar News Agency reported.

This is the first high-level visit by a foreign diplomat since the return of the Taliban in August 2021. Wang arrived in Kabul from Islamabad where he attended a two-day meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and en route to New Delhi where he is expected to arrive on Thursday evening and will meet with Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Friday.

In his address in OIC, Wang said that China “respects the choice of the Afghan people, and supports Afghanistan’s efforts to usher in an inclusive political structure and moderate governance and open a new chapter of peace and reconstruction.”

Wang also met with Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa and said that Afghanistan should actively build an open and inclusive political architecture, implement moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policies and resolutely combat terrorism in all its forms.

China has so far not officially recognized the Taliban as a legitimate Afghan government, but the Taliban official said that China is ready to engage in development projects in Afghanistan.

A Taliban spokesman of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, Esmatullah Borhan had earlier said that they are in talks with China’s Metallurgical Group Corporation over restarting work in the massive Mes Aynak copper mine and that a Chinese team would arrive at the end-March.

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