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Taliban ‘more sober and rational’ than last time, says China

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has reiterated its willingness to respect the national sovereignty of Afghanistan and maintain relations with the Taliban, describing the Islamist group as “more sober and rational” than last time.

Speaking on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying noted that Taliban leaders have expressed their desire to solve Afghanistan’s problems and appreciated their commitment to building an open and inclusive Islamic government.

The spokeswoman stated that China would fully respect Afghanistan’s national sovereignty, insisting that they were keen on maintaining their relationship with the Taliban as well as other factions present in the country.

Hua suggested the Taliban is committed to equality for all and the elimination of discrimination, adding that China would encourage the implementation of this positive attitude.

"The Taliban today are more sober and rational than they were the last time in power."


She added that Beijing was hopeful that Afghanistan’s new rulers could unite all parties and ethnic groups, while emphasizing the need for a system that allows for dialogue and consultation.
China, which shares a 47-mile (75-kilometer) border with Afghanistan, has frequently reiterated its willingness to work with the Taliban and last month Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi even hosted the group’s co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Beijing.

At the meeting Wang stressed to Baradar, who is widely believed to be the country’s next official leader, that the Taliban must cut ties with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a Uighur insurgent group determined to gain independence from China.

Since the 1990s Chinese officials have accused the Taliban of supporting Uighur militants who plotted and undertook thousands of attacks in China.

The Taliban’s last period in power, 1996 to 2001, was not synonymous with progressive governance. The group harbored terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda and brutally oppressed its female population.

Women were banned from work and study, and were unable to leave the house without a male companion. Those who broke the rules faced humiliation, public floggings, and stonings to death.

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