Is China joining talks to promote peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan?

Is China joining talks to promote peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan?

Representatives of the Afghan Taliban opposition movement arrived in Beijing and held talks with the Chinese officials, Afghanistan.Ru portal said with reference to a source close to the negotiators about this new and unexpected shift on the Afghan issue.

According to the source, the Taliban received two invitations at the same time. The first is to come to China to discuss the Afghan crisis and the region’s security issues. The second is to visit Norway, where non-public talks between representatives of official Kabul and the U.S. diplomats were supposed to be held. The Taliban preferred to arrive in Beijing, and this is understandable. Before meeting with representatives of the official Kabul, it would be absolutely useful to find out the position of such an important player as China.

According to Afghanistan.Ru, during the visit to Beijing, the Taliban delegation, headed by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, met with representatives of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and other officials who in charge with the Afghan issue. The report notes that earlier official Beijing never had any public contacts with the Taliban movement.

Experts assume different options why China does the Taliban shuffle. Experts believe that the main reason is that the Celestial Empire is reconsidering trade relations with other countries after the crisis in relations with the USA.

It could be so. All this meets the Chinese foreign economic policy. China has initiated a number of large-scale economic projects in Central Asia, as well as invested a lot, and is now moving to a more flexible policy in the region. That is, the peace is required, and, for this, the contacts with all involved in the issue sides are necessary.

However, in this context, experts emphasize something else – the Taliban movement holds its activity at two or three platforms.

“Now they want to determine their own relatively independent financial policy and play on several boards at once. China can give them partial control over the construction of roads and transport corridors, retrain engineers, give financial support to open companies under control, etc.,” Aleksey Maslov, Head of the School of Oriental Studies at the Higher School of Economics, said.

The expert notes that the Taliban delegation visited China a few days before the next, seventh round of talks with U.S. officials in Doha, the Qatari capital. Representatives of the Taliban movement say that this time in Qatar they will manage to agree on one or two out of four main issues of the current agenda. They include troop withdrawal; guarantees against terrorism; talks between the Taliban and the American-supported government of Afghanistan to establish a path toward political settlement; and a lasting cease-fire.

Representatives of the Taliban movement believe that the American officials headed by the Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad understood that it was better to agree on something rather than completely fail the diplomatic initiative. At the same time, intense hostilities take place in Afghanistan from time to time.

Generally, joining the talks of such a “heavyweight” as China to promote peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan can only be welcomed.

Not sure, that the Afghan issue can be solved by negotiating only two or three sides. The negotiation process would be much more effective if China, Russia, Pakistan, the neighboring countries of Afghanistan and other interested states can join the United States, Kabul and the Taliban.

There is a proverb in the East that say: “A robe, tailored together, would not be short.”