China endorses Afghan reconciliation, welcomes talks with Taliban


BEIJING: China has extended their full assistance to the Afghan reconciliation and peaceful reconstruction process as they welcome President Ashraf Ghani’s offer of talks with Taliban.

“China always supported the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned extensive and exclusive reconciliation process,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a press briefing on Friday.

All relevant parties in Afghanistan were urged to address their differences through consultation and dialogue.

“China highly appreciates efforts made by the government and President Ashraf Ghani for reconciliation,” she added.

Yesterday the Taliban issued a cold response to proposals of initiating peace talks with the Afghan government, a day after President Ashraf Ghani suggested a pact to recognize the insurgents as a legitimate party in negotiations.

The movement has not yet given any formal answer to Ghani’s invitation, which was announced at a conference of officials from countries in the so-called Kabul Process that is aimed at creating a platform for talks to end more than 16 years of war.

But the Taliban’s chief spokesperson sent a reply to an “Open Letter” published this week in the New Yorker magazine by Barnett Rubin, a respected commentator on Afghan politics, who urged Taliban to accept talks with the Kabul government.

“Our country has been occupied, which has led to an American-style supposed Afghan government being imposed upon us,” stated the Taliban response.

“And your view that we talk to them and accept their legitimacy is the same formula adopted by America to win the war,” it said, adding that the Kabul Process was simply aimed at seeking the Taliban’s ‘surrender’.

The comments come a month after the Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack in which an ambulance packed with explosives blew up in Kabul, killing around 100 people, in the worst attack seen in months.