China slams ‘hasty’ withdrawal of US troops from Afghan; urges UN to play ‘due role’

·3-min read

Beijing, May 16 (PTI) China has said that the “hasty” withdrawal of the US troops from war-torn Afghanistan has severely affected the peace process and the regional stability as it called on the UN to play its “due role” and urged the SCO to pay more attention to the situation.

The issue of US withdrawal from Afghanistan figured in the telephonic conversation between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Pakistan counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday.

Wang said that the “hasty withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan”, which is expected to be completed by September this year, has severely impacted the Afghan domestic peace process and negatively affected the regional stability.

Under such circumstances, China expects the United Nations to play its “due role”, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Wang as saying.

He, however, did not elaborate the UN’s “due role”.

Wang also said that the eight-member Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), of which India and Pakistan are members, should pay more attention to the situation and Afghanistan's neighbours to strengthen communication, speak in one voice and take coordinated actions.

China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan are the SCO members.

Observers say that the US’ plan to speed up its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan may have troubling consequences for China.

China, whose volatile Xinjiang province borders Afghanistan, has been expressing its concern over the US move despite tensions with Washington on a host of issues, including America’s allegation of a genocide against Muslim Uygurs by the Chinese government in Xinjiang. It denies the allegations of running mass detention camps and violating human rights of Uygurs.

The previous Trump administration had also lifted a ban on the separatist East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a Uygur militant outfit.

The ETIM was designated as a terrorist organisation by the UN’s 1267 counter-terrorism committee in 2002 for its alleged association with al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden and the Taliban.

Reports from Afghanistan said some of the recent attacks were attributed to the consolidation of the Islamic State militants who fought in Syria until recently.

China is concerned that hundreds of Uygur militants, who joined the ISIS in Syria, could threaten the peace and stability in Xinjiang.

Wang, in his phone talks with Qureshi, noted that Pakistan has an important traditional influence on the Afghanistan issue.

Pakistan was widely believed to wield an influence over the Taliban as the leadership of the militant group is sheltered there.

Wang said China calls on all the parties in the war-torn country to reach a political arrangement acceptable to all sides under the 'Afghan-led and Afghan-owned' framework and jointly seek a development path suited to Afghanistan's national conditions.

Under the current circumstances, China and Pakistan should continue to strengthen the strategic coordination in order to exert a more positive influence on the peace process in Afghanistan and jointly safeguard the regional peace and stability, Wang said.

Reiterating the “all-weather” ties between China and Pakistan, Wang said he expects the two countries to take the opportunity of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties to open up a brighter prospect for bilateral relations.

Wang noted that over the past 70 years, the two sides have firmly supported each other on issues concerning each other's core interests.

He said China will continue to stand firmly with Pakistan during the COVID-19 crisis until it completely wins the battle against the contagion.

Qureshi thanked China for its strong support of Pakistan's fight against the COVID-19.

The US and NATO should leave Afghanistan in an orderly and responsible manner, he said, adding that Pakistan supports Afghanistan's neighbouring countries in playing a bigger role in pushing forward the peace process. PTI KJV CPS AKJ CPS

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