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China Appoints New Ambassador To Taliban-Led Afghanistan Amid Diplomatic Uncertainty

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(CTN NEWS) – On Wednesday, Zhao Xing, the newly appointed Chinese ambassador to Afghanistan, officially presented his credentials to Mullah Mohammed Hassan Akhund, the Prime Minister of the Taliban-led government.

China’s move marks the first formal appointment of an ambassador-level envoy to Afghanistan since the Taliban regained control of the country in August 2021 following the withdrawal of US troops.

China’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Presents Credentials to Taliban Government

Notably, the Taliban government lacks official recognition from any other nation, leaving it unclear whether this appointment signifies China’s recognition of the government.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the chief spokesman for the Taliban, confirmed the credential presentation, stating, “Mohammed Hassan Akhund, the Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, accepted the credentials of Mr. Zhao Xing, the new Chinese ambassador to Afghanistan, during a ceremony.”

“The Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate expressed gratitude to China’s leadership for appointing Mr. Zhao Xing as ambassador, and conveyed the hope that this appointment would usher in a new era of elevated diplomatic relations and mark the beginning of a renewed chapter in the bilateral relationship between the two countries.”

China has actively engaged with the Taliban-led government on various fronts since their assumption of power. This engagement has encompassed investment initiatives and infrastructure projects.

Afghan-Chinese Economic Corridor and China’s Ongoing Engagement in Afghanistan

In the previous year, Afghan and Chinese railway authorities signed an agreement alongside their counterparts in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan to establish an economic corridor connecting their respective nations.

This corridor is anticipated to enhance trade and connectivity, providing a significant boost to Afghanistan’s economic prospects.

In January, the privately-run oil company Xinjiang Central Asia Petroleum and Gas secured a contract for oil extraction from the Amu Darya basin, a portion of which lies within Afghanistan.

This marked the first major extraction agreement signed by the Taliban with a foreign company since their return to power.

Under this contract, the oil company committed to investing $150 million annually in Afghanistan, with plans to increase this to $540 million within three years under a 25-year agreement.

The project is expected to generate employment opportunities for approximately 3,000 Afghan citizens, as stated by the Taliban.

While many nations closed their embassies in Kabul following the Taliban’s takeover, China remained one of the few countries to maintain a diplomatic presence.

Some ambassadors appointed by their nations during the previous foreign-backed Afghan government’s tenure also chose to remain in Kabul.

China’s Former Ambassador to Afghanistan and the Significance of Sino-Afghan Relations

Wang Yu, China’s former ambassador to Afghanistan, assumed his role in 2019, and his tenure concluded last month.

“The Prime Minister emphasized the significance of the relationship between Afghanistan and China,” as mentioned by Mujahid. “He expressed hope that further measures would be taken to fortify bilateral relations.”

Abdul Waheed Waheed, an international relations expert based in Kabul who has collaborated with the International Rescue Committee, noted that the appointment of the ambassador signifies an “important achievement” for the Taliban.

While it may not necessarily signify full diplomatic recognition, it undeniably represents a noteworthy development.

Waheed further emphasized that China’s engagement in Afghanistan is motivated by economic considerations, but the Chinese government’s approach is multifaceted, encompassing both economic and strategic interests.

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Alishba Waris is an independent journalist working for CTN News. She brings a wealth of experience and a keen eye for detail to her reporting. With a knack for uncovering the truth, Waris isn't afraid to ask tough questions and hold those in power accountable. Her writing is clear, concise, and cuts through the noise, delivering the facts readers need to stay informed. Waris's dedication to ethical journalism shines through in her hard-hitting yet fair coverage of important issues.

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