China Criticizes US, NATO for ‘Hasty Withdrawal’ from Afghanistan


China’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday accused the US and NATO of a “failure” due to their “hasty withdrawal” of troops from Afghanistan, AP reported.

The withdrawal of troops gives the Afghan people “an important opportunity to stabilise and develop their own country,” Chain Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Zhao Lijian said during a news conference.

The statement comes as China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi met Wednesday with Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and his delegation in the northeastern city of Tianjin as ties between them warm ahead of the US pullout from Afghanistan.

The US withdrawal from Afghanistan by August 31 is seen as a boon to China, Washington’s chief strategic competitor, which has long resented the presence of US troops in what it considers its own backyard.

China also hopes the Taliban will “deal resolutely” with the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, a group China claims is leading a push for independence in Xinjiang, but which many experts doubt even exists in any operational form, Zhao said.

While no agenda was announced for the meeting, China has an interest in pushing the Taliban to join in peace talks or at least reduce the level of violence as it gobbles up territory from overwhelmed Afghan government forces.

China and Afghanistan share a narrow border high in the remote Wakhan Valley and China has long been concerned about a possible spillover of Islamic militancy into its formerly volatile Xinjiang region.

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