By K J M Varma :
CHINA, which has stepped up its diplomacy between Pakistan and Afghanistan in the wake of the US troops withdrawal from the war-torn country, has offered to host peace talks between the Afghan Government and the Taliban. Significantly, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who in the last two-days held telephone talks with his Pakistani and Afghan counterparts, said that China will back the Afghan Government headed by Ashraf Ghani in playing a leading role.
The offer to facilitate peace talks was made during Wang’s phone talks with his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Haneef Atmar on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here on Tuesday. Asked to elaborate, Zhao said, “China is ready to facilitate intra-Afghan talks and will provide necessary conditions for negotiation in China.”
The US had announced its plans to withdraw its troops completely from Afghanistan by September. The US troop pull-out has raised concerns in Beijing that it may lead to the regrouping of Xinjiang province’s Uygur Muslim militants in Afghanistan, which shares borders with China. During their telephonic conversation, Wang told Atmar that “China will continue to support the Afghan Government in playing a leading role in the country’s peace and reconciliation process”, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.