China can help in Afghanistan’s development, says Taliban spokesman

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China has cited religious extremism as a destabilizing force in its western Xinjiang region and has long worried that Taliban-controlled territory would be used to harbour separatist forces…reports Asian Lite News.

China has played a constructive role in promoting peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and is welcome to contribute to the rebuilding of the country, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Chinese state media.

Taliban terrorists seized control over the weekend in an upheaval that sent thousands of civilians and Afghan military allies fleeing for safety. Many fear a return to the austere interpretation of Islamic law imposed during the previous Taliban rule that ended 20 years ago.

In dealing with the Taliban, an increasingly powerful China may be able to leverage the fact that unlike Russia and the United States, it has not fought in Afghanistan.

“China is a big country with a huge economy and capacity – I think they can play a very big role in the rebuilding, rehabilitation, reconstruction of Afghanistan,” Shaheen told CGTN television in an interview late on Thursday.

During Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s meeting with a Taliban delegation in the northern Chinese port city of Tianjin last month, he said he hoped Afghanistan could adopt a moderate Islamist policy.

China has cited religious extremism as a destabilizing force in its western Xinjiang region and has long worried that Taliban-controlled territory would be used to harbour separatist forces.

China eyes Afghan rare-earth mines

China appears to be eyeing to clinch lucrative projects to exploit mineral-rich Afghanistan, especially the trillions of dollars’ worth of rare-earth metals, as it calibrated its policy to recognise the Taliban government.

Rare-earth metals in Afghanistan were estimated to be worth anywhere between USD one trillion to USD three trillion in 2020, a CNBC report this week quoted Ahmad Shah Katawazai, a former diplomat at the Afghan Embassy in Washington.

Rare-earth metals are a key component for a host of advanced technologies like IPhones and hi-tech missile guidance systems.

On Wednesday, China said it will decide on extending diplomatic recognition to the Taliban in Afghanistan after the formation of the government in the country, which it hoped would be “open, inclusive and broadly representative”.

The rare-earth metals are used in rechargeable batteries for electric and hybrid cars, advanced ceramics, computers, DVD players, wind turbines, catalysts in cars and oil refineries, monitors, televisions, lighting, lasers, fibre optics, superconductors and glass polishing.

According to a report by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), China provides more than 85 per cent of the world’s rare earths and it is home to about two-thirds of the global supply of rare metals and minerals like antimony and barite. At the height of the trade war with the US in 2019, China threatened to regulate the metals exports which could cause serious shortages of raw materials for the American high-tech industry.

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