A delegation of top Taliban officials was received in the port city of Tianjin by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. That is remarkable and is just one step less than the official recognition of the Taliban.
As violence continues to flare up in Afghanistan, the Taliban have also launched a diplomatic offensive. They already had a liaison office in the Gulf state of Qatar and earlier this month received a Taliban delegation in neighbouring Iran, where they also met representatives of the Afghan government. A Taliban delegation had also previously been received in Russia.
Today, a delegation of nine top leaders of the fundamentalist rebels in the Chinese port city of Tianjin was received by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. It is striking that such a high-ranking Chinese leader receives the Taliban. Equally striking is that the Taliban apparently do not mind the oppression of Islamic minorities such as the Uyghurs and Kyrgyz in the Chinese region of Xinjiang.
China has an albeit very short border with Afghanistan. Thus, both China and the Taliban seem to prioritize their immediate interests and not ideology. For example, Mohammed Naeem, the Taliban spokesman, assured the Chinese that his movement would not allow Afghan territory to be used for attacks against China.
China does have good relations with Pakistan, Afghanistan’s other neighbour, which is believed to support the Afghan Taliban. China has a strategically very important corridor via Pakistan to the port city of Gwadar on the Indian Ocean and does not want the Taliban or other Islamic groups to cause problems there.
A few more Chinese people were injured in an attack in Pakistan today. More than ten Chinese have recently been killed in a bomb attack on their bus in northern Pakistan.