China set to ‘beef up relations’ with Taliban as militants firm up control of Afghanistan

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Beijing is expected to increase humanitarian assistance in the country as the Taliban prepares to unveil their new cabinet. The Taliban have said China has committed to keeping its embassy in Kabul open and “beef up” relations.

This follows as the Taliban have now allegedly taken full control of Afghanistan, including the Panjshir valley, which was home to a small resistance force fighting back against the militants.

A Taliban commander told Reuters: “By the grace of Allah Almighty, we are in control of the entire Afghanistan.

“The troublemakers have been defeated and Panjshir is now under our command.”

China has not yet formally recognised the new regime but it has said it seeks “friendly and cooperative” relations with the Taliban.

In contrast, Western countries are waiting to see how the Taliban form a government and how they act, before establishing ties.

A stable government in Kabul could be beneficial for Beijing as it would increase the likelihood for Chinese investment in Afghan infrastructure.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has claimed this week Beijing was “ready to invest in and reconstruct” Afghanistan as he set out hopes that China would provide a gateway into global markets.

He said: “China is our principal partner and for us represents a fundamental and extraordinary opportunity because it’s ready to invest in and reconstruct our country.

“We hold in high regard the One Belt One Road project that will serve to revive the ancient Silk Road.

“Beyond that, we have rich copper mines which thanks to the Chinese can be brought back into production and modernised.

“China represents our passport towards the markets of the whole world.”

The August 31 deadline for the troop withdrawal saw the US abandon the country after 20 years of military intervention in the region.

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The Taliban have committed to govern differently from their previous time in power from 1996 and 2001.

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