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Chinese Recognition of the Taliban Is All but Inevitable

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27.08.2021

What happens to the country and its people after the forever war ends?

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Now that the Taliban have seized power in Afghanistan, China is likely to recognize and legitimize the new leadership within the coming weeks or months. Prior to the fall of Kabul, Beijing’s official position was to support reconciliation between the warring sides—even as it officially engaged with the Taliban since 2019 and unofficially for several years before that. On July 28, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi welcomed Taliban representatives for consultations in Beijing, the most visible sign of warming Chinese-Taliban relations yet. Just before the Taliban took control, there were already reports Beijing was planning to recognize a Taliban regime.

Since the fall of Kabul, Beijing’s statements have been friendly but circumspect. On Aug. 16, one day after Kabul fell, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) spokesperson Hua Chunying was asked about potential recognition. She said, “we hope the Afghan Taliban can form solidarity with all factions and ethnic groups in Afghanistan and build a broad-based and inclusive political structure.” That same day, Chinese United Nations envoy Geng Shuang echoed the statement but also noted, “Afghanistan must never again become heaven for terrorists. … We hope that the Taliban in Afghanistan will earnestly deliver on their commitments and make a clean break with the terrorist organizations.”

Now that the Taliban have seized power in Afghanistan, China is likely to recognize and legitimize the new leadership within the coming weeks or months. Prior to the fall of Kabul, Beijing’s official position was to support reconciliation between the warring sides—even as it officially engaged with the Taliban since 2019 and unofficially for several years before that. On July 28, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi welcomed Taliban representatives for consultations in Beijing, the most visible sign of warming Chinese-Taliban relations yet. Just before the Taliban took control, there were already reports Beijing was planning to recognize a Taliban regime.

Since the fall of Kabul, Beijing’s statements have been friendly but circumspect. On Aug. 16, one day after Kabul fell, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) spokesperson Hua Chunying was asked about potential recognition. She said, “we hope the Afghan Taliban can form solidarity with all factions and ethnic groups in Afghanistan and build a broad-based and inclusive political structure.” That same day, Chinese United Nations envoy Geng........

© Foreign Policy


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