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CPEC extension to Afghanistan “very important”: Taliban

By Shafqat Ali | Gwadar Pro Sep 4, 2021

KARACHI, Sept. 4 (Gwadar pro)- Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan – commonly known as the Taliban - said on Friday afternoon said that extension of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan was “very important”.

Speaking at the Pak-Afghan Youth Forum’s International Conference titled “Rebuilding Afghanistan Together” via video link, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid hoped that Pakistan’s help to the Afghan nation will continue for peace and bilateral trade and commerce.

“We have appealed to the government of Pakistan for cooperation,” he said. Mujahid said that Afghanistan appreciates the longstanding contributions of Pakistan to the Afghan people. He assured Pakistan that it will not have any threat from Afghanistan.

Earlier, in an interview published in an Italian newspaper, Zabihullah Mujahid said that the group looked at China as the “most important partner”.

“China represents a fundamental and extraordinary opportunity for us because it is ready to invest and rebuild our country,” he said.

Mujahid also said that the open trade routes under the Belt and Road Initiative are “held in high regard by the Taliban”.

There are “rich copper mines in the country, which, thanks to the Chinese, can be put back into operation and modernised. In addition, China helps us reach the markets all over the world”. said Mujahid.

He also confirmed that women will be allowed to continue studying at universities in the future. He said women would be able to work as nurses, police, or assistants in ministries, but ruled out that there would be female ministers in the new government.

Earlier, a Taliban leader said that China had promised to keep its embassy in Afghanistan open and to increase humanitarian aid to the war-ravaged country.

Abdul Salam Hanafi, a member of the Islamist group’s political office in Doha, Qatar, “held a phone conversation with Wu Jianghao, Deputy Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China,” Suhail Shaheen, another Taliban spokesperson, tweeted.

“The Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister said that they would maintain their embassy in Kabul, our relations would beef up. Afghanistan can play an important role in the security and development of the region,” he added.

“China will also continue and increase its humanitarian assistance especially for the treatment of covid-19,” the spokesperson continued.

When asked at a press briefing on Friday, Beijing said its embassy in Afghanistan is “an important channel for exchanges between the two countries” and is “in normal operation.”

“We hope the Taliban will establish an open and inclusive political structure, pursue moderate and stable domestic and foreign policy and make a clean break with all terrorist groups,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin.

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