Chinese and Russian leaders Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin pledge to counter “terrorism threats” emerging from Afghanistan in a phone call.
The two leaders “declared themselves ready to redouble their efforts to fight against threats of terrorism and drug trafficking from Afghan territory,” according to statements issued by both Beijing and Moscow.
Wednesday’s phone call came immediately after G7 leaders held an emergency meeting on developments in Afghanistan. Boris Johnson, who chaired the meeting, said the group had agreed to ask the Taliban for a guarantee of safe passage from Afghanistan.
During the phone call, Xi and Putin also spoke of “the importance of establishing peace” in Afghanistan and “of preventing the spread of instability in adjacent regions.”
Xi said his country “respects the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, pursues a policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan and has always played a constructive role in the political settlement. of the Afghan question, ”according to Xinhua.
Chinese commentators last week discussed the extent to which Beijing is expected to step into the vacuum left by the United States in the volatile Central Asian country. Zhou Bo, former senior colonel of the People’s Liberation Army, wrote in the New York Times that China “is ready to fill the void left by the precipitous retreat of the United States to seize a golden opportunity”.
But others have pointed to Afghanistan’s long history of political and security instability. “China should not rush to invest in Afghanistan,” said Liu Zongyi, secretary general of the China-South Asia Cooperation Research Center of the prestigious Shanghai International Studies Institutes (SIIS) last week.
In Moscow, as the Kremlin was cautiously optimistic about the new leadership in Kabul, Putin warned against Afghan militants entering neighboring countries as refugees.
Putin also criticized the involvement of outside powers in Afghanistan’s internal affairs and said Moscow had “learned the lessons” from the decade-long invasion of the country by the Soviet Union.
Additional report from the AFP news agency