BEIJING — Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Chinese state media this week that China has played a constructive role in promoting peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and is happy to contribute to the reconstruction of the country.
Taliban fighters took over the weekend in a riot that forced thousands of civilians and Afghan military allies to flee. Many fear a return to the strict interpretation of Islamic law imposed during the Taliban regime that ended 20 years ago.
Faced with the Taliban, an increasingly powerful China could take advantage of the fact that, unlike Russia and the United States, it did not fight in Afghanistan.
“China is a big country with a huge economy and huge capacity – I think it can play a very big role in rebuilding, rehabilitating and rebuilding Afghanistan,” Shaheen said in an interview with CGTN television Thursday evening.
When Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with a Taliban delegation last month in the northern Chinese port city of Tianjin, he said he hoped Afghanistan could adopt a moderate Islamist policy.
China has cited religious extremism as a destabilizing force in its western region of Xinjiang and has long feared that Taliban-held territory could be used to harbor separatist forces.