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Taliban Welcomes China’s New Ambassador with Grand Reception, Signaling Potential for Diplomatic Relations

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Chinese Ambassador Zhao Sheng (L) with Taliban Prime Minister Mohammad Hassan Akhund

– Radiance News Service

In a grand display of diplomatic overture, the Taliban extended a warm welcome to China’s newly appointed Ambassador to Afghanistan, Ambassador Zhao Sheng, as he arrived in Kabul on Wednesday, September 13. The event has sparked speculation about the potential establishment of relations between the two countries.

Ambassador Zhao Sheng’s arrival was met with grandeur as his convoy passed through the tree-lined driveway of the Presidential Palace, flanked by a convoy of police vehicles. He was greeted by uniformed troops and held meetings with high-ranking Taliban officials, including Mohammad Hassan Akhund, the head of the Taliban administration, and Foreign Affairs Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.

This reception marks a significant departure from previous diplomatic engagements with the Taliban and underscores China’s intentions to forge closer ties with Afghanistan. Muttaqi acknowledged the special relationship between the two nations without elaborating on the exact nature of their aspirations.

In response to these developments, China’s embassy in Afghanistan released a statement on Wednesday. It called upon the international community to continue dialogue with the Taliban and encouraged the establishment of an inclusive political framework, the adoption of moderate policies, counterterrorism efforts, and the development of amicable external relations. The Chinese embassy urged certain countries to reconsider their stance on terrorism, return Afghanistan’s overseas assets, and lift sanctions.

India’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs must make note of this development, and act swiftly to ensure that we do not get left behind in the race to maintain our historical alliance and business ties with Afghanistan. After all, we have contributed a lot to the various projects like building roads in Afghanistan.

The Taliban’s rise to power in August 2021, following the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces after a two-decade-long conflict, has left them internationally isolated. To date, no nation officially recognizes the Taliban as Afghanistan’s legitimate rulers, and the country’s United Nations seat remains occupied by the former Western-backed government led by Ashraf Ghani. Only a handful of countries have maintained functioning diplomatic missions within Afghanistan, with China being one of the notable exceptions. The international community remains cautious about recognizing the Taliban’s rule, given their previous regime’s actions over two decades ago. Consequently, Afghanistan’s overseas assets remain frozen, and the Taliban leadership is under sanctions.