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China’s Wang says Afghans ‘can control own destiny’ post withdrawal

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(Last Updated On: June 5, 2021)

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said this week that while the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan will bring some uncertainties, the move will give the Afghan people the chance to control their own future.

Following a video dialogue on Thursday with his Afghan and Pakistani counterparts, Wang said troops withdrawal will give Afghans an opportunity “to truly control their own destiny.”

According to China’s official readout after the trio’s discussion, Wang said: “The three sides agreed to deepen the cooperation in BRI (Belt and Road Initiative), supporting the substantial expansion of it to Afghanistan, and enhance the level of interconnection between the three countries.”

The three parties also agreed to create a strong dialogue mechanism between the respective foreign ministers, with China calling to add dialogue between their envoys to discuss peace talks in Afghanistan and specific steps to be taken.

According to the South China Morning Post, Beijing fears the withdrawal will lead to a potential resurgence of terrorism in the country, which would pose security risks to its predominantly Muslim Xinjiang region bordering Afghanistan and threaten its belt and road projects in the region.

China has sought to strengthen cooperation with Central Asian states on security to manage any potential spillover of turmoil from Afghanistan. During a meeting with the foreign ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan last month, Beijing said they should jointly crack down on terrorists and prevent transnational crime.

However, the post reported that Zhu Yongbiao, a professor of international relations at Lanzhou University, said the expansion of belt and road projects to Afghanistan could face multiple challenges.

“First, it will face security risks due to the instability there. Besides, investment of Chinese enterprises may also fail due to the lack of understanding of Afghan culture and society. Moreover, China will be highly likely to face international accusations such as the ‘debt trap’,” Zhu said.

“Looking from China’s recent official statement, it is likely to be more active in Afghanistan from now on than in the past, which means China’s influence in the country will be expanded.

“But it does not necessarily reduce the influence of the US, because the stance of China and the US on Afghanistan is not conflicting. Instead, they share common interests in improving the self-development capacity of Afghanistan,” he said.

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India hosting key SCO anti-terror meeting

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO) anti-terror body Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) representatives came together Monday for the start of a three-day meeting in New Delhi.

Among those attending is a three-member Pakistani delegation that arrived in India on Saturday via the Wagah border.

The situation in Afghanistan and the worsening humanitarian crisis in the country is expected to be on the agenda.

According to Indian media reports, New Delhi is also expected to raise issues regarding the security situation in Afghanistan.

The RATS is the Executive Committee of the SCO, headquartered in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, which is a permanent unit of the organisation which serves to promote cooperation of member states against terrorism, separatism and extremism.

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IEA says girls’ schools will reopen soon

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), and deputy minister of the IEA’s Ministry of Information and Culture, said progress has been made at a meeting of religious scholars and girls’ schools would reopen soon.

Speaking to reporters in Kabul on Sunday Mujahid said: “Good progress has been made at the meeting of the country’s scholars regarding the reopening of girls’ schools and other major political issues, and girls’ schools will be reopened in the near future.”

He said that the meeting, attended by tribal leaders and influential people of the country, is focusing on major political, security and social issues.

“The Ulema are consulting on the reopening of girls’ schools, and progress will be made soon,” said Mujahid.

Meanwhile, Anas Haqqani, a senior member of the Islamic Emirate, said on Wednesday that a meeting of religious scholars would be held to discuss the issue of girls going to school.

The closure of girls’ schools above the sixth grade sparked a major outcry around the world with the international community repeatedly calling for schools to reopen.

Officials at the Ministry of Education of the Islamic Emirate have said that they will reopen girls’ schools in the near future within the framework of Islamic principles.

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Uzbekistan to host international conference on Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

Tashkent will host a high-level international conference on Afghanistan at the end of July, Uzbekistan’s interim Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Norov announced.

Norov said the key focus would be on security, political stability and the socio-economic development of the region.

“As for Afghanistan, unfortunately, we are seeing a decrease in the attention of the international community to the situation in this country. Meanwhile, the situation there remains difficult, due to the acute economic crisis and the difficult humanitarian situation, challenges to regional security and stability remain,” he said.

Tashkent Times reported that Norov felt the international community should take responsibility for the present and future of Afghanistan and provide continued assistance to resolve problems in the country.

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