China has delivered the first batch of its USD 31 million humanitarian assistance, comprising emergency supplies such as blankets and jackets, to the Taliban’s interim government in Afghanistan.
The China-donated supplies, which arrived at the Kabul International Airport on Wednesday night, have been handed over to the Afghanistan side, state-run Xinhua news agency reported from the Afghan capital.
China’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Wang Yu and Acting Minister of Refugee Affairs of the Afghan caretaker government Khalil-ur-Rehman Haqqani attended the handover ceremony at the airport.
Wang said that amidst many difficulties, China has managed to arrange the emergency humanitarian aid materials for Afghanistan in a short time, which included blankets, down jackets and other winter supplies urgently needed by the Afghan people.
He said China will continue to prepare for other materials, including food aid, which are expected to arrive before long. Haqqani thanked China for providing the emergency supplies.
Terming China as a “good neighbour and friend of Afghanistan”, Haqqani hoped China could provide further assistance in the future, the state-run China Global Television Network (CGTN-TV) reported.
Afghanistan, which faces extremely grave economic and livelihood difficulties, urgently needs assistance from the international community in various fields, he said.
Haqqani said that Afghanistan will honour its commitments to its neighbours and the international community, in an apparent reference to the Taliban’s pledge to form an inclusive government and not to allow foreign militant groups to operate from the Afghanistan territory.
Like the rest of the world, China is yet to officially recognise the Taliban’s interim government. However, it has kept its embassy in Kabul open along with Pakistan and Russia while the missions of other countries were shut after the Afghan militant group took control of the war-torn country last month.
On September 21-22, Special envoys of China, Russia and Pakistan met the top officials of the Taliban’s interim government as well as former Afghan leaders Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul and discussed the formation of an inclusive government, combating terrorism and humanitarian situation.
Besides coordinating closely with Russia on Afghanistan -- China and Pakistan -- who are playing a lead role after the Taliban took over power, are trying to establish a new grouping of countries sharing borders with Afghanistan which are China, Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
The Foreign Ministers of the group held a virtual meeting on September 7. On September 26, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in New York that Russia, China, Pakistan and the US are working together to ensure that the Taliban rulers keep up their promises, especially to form a genuinely representative government and prevent extremism from spreading.
He said that the interim government announced by the Taliban does not reflect "the whole gamut of Afghan society -- ethno-religious and political forces -- so we are engaging in contacts. They are ongoing."
"What's most important… is to ensure that the promises that they have proclaimed publicly are kept. And for us, that is the top priority,” Lavrov added.
The Taliban swept across Afghanistan last month, seizing control of almost all key towns and cities in the backdrop of withdrawal of the US forces that began on May 1. On August 15, the capital city of Kabul fell to the insurgents.
The Taliban claimed victory over opposition forces in the last holdout province of Panjshir on September 6, completing their takeover of Afghanistan three weeks after capturing Kabul.
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