In a press conference that took place on Thursday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying claimed that the situation is likely to be more stable in Afghanistan, addressing the recent takeover of the country by the Taliban.
China and its take on Taliban
Chinese foreign ministry said that the Taliban appeared to be more “clear-eyed and rational” this time (quote from Live Mint). Further, it has tried to express the militant organization’s recent developments in Afghanistan as the “people’s choice”.
Chinese citizens at home have heavily criticized this stance of the government. The history of terror inflicted by the Taliban on Afghans has been the primary cause of this backlash.
Earlier this week, China talked about extending its diplomatic base in Afghanistan. It has also expressed hope for a more open and representative new Taliban-led government.
When asked about the ministry’s take on women’s autonomy and status in a Taliban-led Afghanistan, Hua told the media:
“Taliban leaders and a spokesperson have stated unequivocally that the terrorist group will endeavor to address people’s problems, meet their ambitions, and strive to establish an open, inclusive Islamic government.”
The Response of Chinese News Platforms
As reported by the Times of India, several news and media platforms in China have made attempts to focus on a more optimistic picture of the militant organization in Afghanistan.
On Monday, the CCP’s media organ, the People’s Daily published a brief video history of the Taliban without addressing its ties to terrorism.
According to the video, the group was founded by “students in refugee camps” during Afghanistan’s civil war and grew with “poor assistance”. It also added that it “has been in a war with the US for 20 years since the Sept. 11 tragedy”.
Moreover, in a Chinese language story on CCTV4, the state broadcaster’s international news channel, a more upbeat picture was painted. While some women expressed concerns about the future, the report stated that Kabul was “gradually returning to normal”. It added that the Taliban have made pledges to respect women’s rights and enable them to work and study.
It is important to note that there have already been reports of the Taliban infringing on Afghan women’s rights. In two instances, female bank employees were prevented from entering their workplace by armed militants. The militants further asked them to send in their male relatives to replace them at their jobs. Furthermore, a recent Amnesty International report has disclosed alarming information about minority status in Afghanistan. According to the investigation, Taliban fighters massacred 9 ethnic Hazara men last month during their takeover of Ghazni province. These instances have left many sceptical about the Taliban leaders’ statements about safeguarding rights.
According to a report by Times of India, China’s strategic support for the Taliban following the abrupt exit of US troops from Afghanistan “has left many at home feeling whiplashed”.
Uncertain Future of Foreign Relations
The crisis in Afghanistan is very likely to affect the future of foreign relations in the area. According to ToI, this instability could impact Pakistan, where China has heavy investments. It could also propagate “extremism over its border.”
To read more on the situation in Afghanistan, click here.