Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: China’s foreign minister makes surprise stop in Afghanistan

China’s foreign minister made a surprise visit Thursday in Afghanistan’s capital, meeting with the country’s new Taliban rulers. According to the official Bakhtar News Agency, Wang Yi was to meet with Taliban leaders “to discuss various issues, including the extension of political relations, economic, and transit cooperation.” The Taliban, who seized power last August during the chaotic final weeks of the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces after 20 years of war, have been seeking international recognition in order to open up Afghanistan’s economy, which has been in free fall since their takeover. Wang’s visit came as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, was also in Kabul. Kabulov also met with the Taliban-appointed foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, Taliban spokesman Qahar Balkhi said. “The meeting focused on strengthening political, economic, transit and regional relations,” Balkhi tweeted. (https://news.yahoo.com/chinas-foreign-minister-makes-surprise-083311593.html) Both Beijing and Moscow have become significant regional players, outdistancing the United States. Russia and China, which have both criticized the hasty U.S. departure from Afghanistan, worry that their enemies could find a safe haven under the Taliban rule.

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