The Afghan government would soon hold face-to-face talks with the Taliban and has asked Beijing to pressure Islamabad to cooperate with the peace process, officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said on Monday.
Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai underlined China’s role in the Afghan peace process and talks with the Taliban since the country had strong strategic ties with Pakistan.
He added Kabul was trying to persuade Beijing into pressuring Pakistan to sincerely help Afghanistan’s peace bid. Stability, he added, was a top priority of the Afghan government.
Karzai agreed Afghanistan would soon hold direct talks with the insurgents and negotiators had already been appointed to have preliminary meetings with the rebels to explore options.
According to some recent media reports, the peace negotiations would be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and China, but the Taliban have not officially commented on the issue so far.
“Terrorism is still a major challenge to peace and stability of the region. Groups like Taliban, Lashkar-i-Taiba, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, East Turkistan Islamic Movement and Dayesh threaten the region,” Karzai remarked.
He went to say the groups posed a direct threat not only to the stability of Afghanistan but also to China and the region as a whole. For both countries, he believed, it was necessary to forge closer security and intelligence cooperation.
Director of Strategic Studies at MOFA Faramarz Tamana acknowledged relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan had been improving significantly and China had an important role to play.
“A strong economy, a well-knit society, science and advancements in technology have made China a valuable neighbour for us. We hope to benefit from its abilities,” he added.
Ji Zhiye, the CICIR head, said the reason behind his Kabul visit was to study developments in Afghanistan closely and share his findings with the authorities back in Beijing.