China Bets on Trade with Taliban: Terrorists Will Show 'Openness and Tolerance'

China Bets on Trade with Taliban: Terrorists Will Show 'Openness and Tolerance'

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with a Taliban delegation on Monday at a summit that resulted in several promises to expand trade with the terrorist group – now the de facto government of Afghanistan – and support the Taliban as it allegedly pursues “openness and tolerance.”

The Chinese Communist Party has fostered closer ties with the Taliban for months, investing more heavily in the bilateral relationship with the brutal jihadist organization after it launched an ultimately successful nationwide campaign to eradicate the now-former government of the country. The Taliban greatly increased its attacks on the former government after President Joe Biden violated an agreement the group had signed with the former administration of President Donald Trump to ensure American troops would leave the country by May 1, 2021. Biden extended the 20-year war in Afghanistan, a move that resulted in the Taliban seizing Kabul on August 15, after then-President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.

The Taliban has struggled to obtain any formal recognition as a government since then. China itself has not officially announced it considers the Taliban a legitimate government, but treats it like one. Taliban spokesmen have routinely praised the Communist Party and expressed interest in joining the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a global infrastructure plan in which Beijing offers predatory loans to poor countries in an attempt to secure as much money and political power internationally as possible.

The Chinese state propaganda newspaper Global Timesreported on the details of the meeting, featuring China’s top diplomat Wang and the Taliban “deputy prime minister,” Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and “foreign minister” Amir Khan Mottaki. Wang, according to the Times, “expressed hope that the Afghan Taliban will further demonstrate openness and tolerance” and “protect the rights and interests of women and children.”

Frances Martel