Afghan Taliban team visits China for talks

Islamabad, July 30 (IANS) An Afghan Taliban delegation from its political office in Qatar recently visited China to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and the region, a group leader said on Saturday.

The Taliban has been attempting to attract China’s support in their ongoing war with the Afghanistan government which has entered its 15th year with the civilians paying a hefty price of the ongoing violence, Khamaa Press reported.

It was the first visit of a Taliban delegation to any country after the installation of Haibatullah Akhundzada as the new Taliban amir.

“Our delegation had visited China from July 18-22 to discuss matters between both the countries. They discussed the invasion in the region and to adopt a joint stance against the malicious policies of the invading countries,” the Express Tribune quoted the leader as saying.

The delegation comprised of two Taliban leaders, Sher Muhammad Abbas and Mullah Abbas.

The move came after the Taliban refused to join the peace talks initiated by the four-member Quadrilateral Coordination Group of which China was also a member along with the US, Pakistan and the Afghan government.

The peace process officially came to a halt after former Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Akhtar Mansour was killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan on May 21.

The leader also said the policies of the “Islamic Emirate (Taliban)” about the region and the world also came under discussion.

The leader did not comment on the possibility of peace talks between the group and the Afghan government, but sources said both the sides “explored prospects” for a political dialogue as Beijing could be an “honest broker” to start the peace process.

The visit comes weeks after China delivered military equipment to Afghanistan.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry did not comment on the reports.



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