China Presents Cooperation Plan on Afghanistan to Russia, Pakistan and Iran

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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi answers questions on China's foreign policies and foreign relations at a press conference on the sidelines of the first session of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing on March 8, 2018. (Photo by Weng Qiyu from People’s Daily Online)
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi answers questions on China's foreign policies and foreign relations at a press conference on the sidelines of the first session of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing on March 8, 2018. (Photo by Weng Qiyu from People’s Daily Online)

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has set forth an elaborate plan for quadrilateral cooperation on Afghanistan that includes rendering assistance to the Afghan people, preventing security risks, integrating Kabul into regional cooperation, and urging the United States to partake in reconstruction of the country.

Wang Yi unveiled the plan during an informal meeting of top diplomats from Russia, Pakistan and Iran in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe on Thursday.

“First, we need to insist that the United States must fulfill its commitments. Four countries [Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan] should work with even more like-minded states to encourage Washington to learn the lesson and take the primary responsibility for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, as well as to provide economic and humanitarian aid. You cannot just abandon the responsibility, turn around and leave,” Wang Yi said.

Secondly, the minister noted that an interim government has been formed in Afghanistan, but domestic and foreign policies have not yet been determined.

“Based on the premise of respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, we need to support the Afghan people in choosing their own path of development, to assist in ensuring that a broad and inclusive political structure is finally formed in Afghanistan, moderate and restrained domestic and foreign policies are implemented, a policy of good-neighborliness and friendship is pursued, the fundamental rights of ethnic minorities, women and children are respected,” Wang Yi added.

He also stated the need to prevent the proliferation of security risks.

“The Taliban [a terrorist group banned in Russia] have repeatedly promised that it would not allow any forces to use the territory of Afghanistan to prejudice the security interests of the neighboring countries. We hope that the new Afghan authorities will fulfill their commitments, finally dissociate themselves from terrorist forces and resolutely combat terrorist forces determined to destroy the neighboring states,” Wang Yi said.

Fourthly, he proposed to promote a joint force to assist Afghanistan, noting that almost half of the country’s population lived below the poverty line, 14 million people faced a food crisis, and the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic was underestimated.

“Being the important neighbors of Afghanistan, we should strive to help those in need, and guide and encourage regional countries and international organizations to jointly provide assistance to help the Afghan people overcome the difficulties,” Wang Yi added.

Finally, the diplomat proposed to his colleagues from Russia, Iran and Pakistan to help Afghanistan integrate into the development of regional cooperation.

“In the long term, we can build on the overall situation of regional sustainable development to help Afghanistan consistently develop opportunities for independent and sustainable development, integrate into regional economic cooperation, escape from poverty and backwardness, and achieve economic growth,” Wang Yi concluded.

The Taliban intensified its offensive against Afghan government forces a month ago and entered Kabul on August 15. On August 31, the US military left the Kabul airport, bringing an end to the nearly twenty-year American military presence in Afghanistan. On September 6, the Taliban stated that it had gained control of Panjshir, the last of 34 Afghan provinces not under their yoke.

The next day, the Taliban announced the composition of the interim government of Afghanistan. It is headed by Mohammad Hasan Akhund, who served as a foreign minister during the first Taliban rule. Akhund has been under UN sanctions since 2001.

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