China’s Commitment to Peaceful Afghanistan
The third foreign ministers’ meeting again embodies the neighboring countries’ sincerity to help Afghan people in hardship and China’s constructive role in supporting peaceful, stable development in Afghanistan.
China hosted the Third Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on the Afghan Issue Among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan in Tunxi, Anhui Province, on March 31, where President Xi Jinping delivered written remarks at the multilateral diplomatic event. This critical meeting, themed “Afghanistan’s neighbors plus Afghanistan”, reflects China’s support for the war-torn country’s peace, stability, and development. The meeting was held against the backdrop of an ongoing humanitarian and governance crisis as a result of the 20-year-long presence of the U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
China, as Afghanistan’s neighbor with an interest in regional stability, is playing a leading role in the country’s peacebuilding efforts. The meeting issued a comprehensive statement, reiterating the critical fact that there should be an Afghan-led and owned political process. President Xi and foreign ministers who attended the meeting stressed respect for sovereignty, the sanctity of internal affairs, territorial integrity, and national unity of Afghanistan while taking note of the worsening situation in Afghanistan.
President Xi reiterated the essential and urgent need for the regional states to cooperate in promoting the development of Afghanistan. This is, in fact, a crucial time for Afghanistan as the country is in a transition period from chaos to order.
“Afghanistan is a common neighbor and partner of all participating countries, and we form a community with a shared future linked by the same mountains and rivers who would rise and fall together,” said President Xi. He also noted that a peaceful, stable, developing and prosperous Afghanistan is the aspiration of all the Afghan people. It is also in the common interests of regional countries and the international community.
The future for Afghanistan is linked to mountains and rivers; if Afghanistan rises, then the region will rise, and if Afghanistan is in chaos, then there will be critical risks for the region. Peace and stability in Afghanistan are the prerequisites of development where all its neighbors can undertake collective actions to play a constructive role in shaping the country’s future.
It is worth mentioning here that the government in Afghanistan must be able to undertake necessary reforms and actions to strengthen the governance in the country. The administration has to be inclusive, reconciliatory, and moderate to chalk out Afghanistan’s foreign and domestic policy. Only a strong, united, and representative government in Afghanistan can guarantee rights and civil liberties for the masses.
Afghanistan’s flailing economy and the ensuing humanitarian crisis were described as of the utmost concern. All parties expressed grave concerns over the economic crisis in Afghanistan and pledged their support for the brave Afghan people who continue to survive even after the U.S. government had refused to return Afghan assets currently held in American banks.
The neighborhood around Afghanistan is taking the proper steps in the right direction by extending unconditional help to the Afghan people. Meanwhile, the role of the UN in providing humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan was appreciated in the meeting. It was unanimously agreed that regional partners will continue to support Afghanistan.
Amid the economic and humanitarian crisis, coronavirus has impacted public health and economic activities in the country. To help relieve the crisis, China and Pakistan have provided the Afghan people with medical aid, including vaccines and testing kits.
The third major issue talked about at the meeting was counter-terrorism efforts at national and regional levels. All of the participants are part of the regional Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), either as members or observer states. Together, they called for the eradication of extremism, terrorism, and separatism in the region. Terrorism was once rampant in Afghanistan and currently, conditions exist which could result in its reemergence.
All neighbors have therefore pledged to extend collective support for Afghanistan in the eradication of all terrorist organizations from its soil. It is worth mentioning here that terrorism is not the only major hindrance to the growth and development of Afghanistan, the diplomatic isolation of the Taliban-led interim regime is also a problem.
All Afghan stakeholders should work together to help create an inclusive government in Kabul, initiate comprehensive counter-terrorism efforts, and promote economic growth. This multilateral cooperation will enable Afghanistan to tackle the refugee crisis, avoid humanitarian debacles, as well as maintain peace and stability.
The foreign ministers’ meetings provide an important platform for Afghanistan and neighboring countries to keep dialogue and jointly solve regional issues, which is a positive step in the right direction. The third foreign ministers’ meeting again embodies the neighboring countries’ sincerity to help the Afghan people in hardship and China’s constructive role in supporting peaceful, stable development in Afghanistan. It is conceivable that the inclusion of Afghanistan in BRI (the Belt and Road Initiative) and CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) in the future will boost the country’s economy, agriculture, infrastructure development, and energy, as well as bring a better life to Afghan people.
The article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of China Focus.