Taliban representatives have met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to discuss peace in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US troops.

The Taliban announced the meeting on Wednesday saying that they had traveled to the northern Chinese city of Tianjin to meet with Chinese officials to discuss “political, economic and security issues.” The delegation was led by Taliban negotiator and deputy leader, Mullah Baradar Akhund. The Chinese side consists of Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the deputy foreign minister, and the Chinese special envoy for Afghanistan. Updates of the talks are being posted on Twitter by Mohammed Naeem — the delegate’s political spokesperson.

“China pledged to continue to expand its cooperation with the Afghan people, saying that they would not interfere in Afghanistan’s affairs, but would help solve problems and build peace,” he tweeted.

The meeting between China and the Taliban comes whilst turmoil escalates in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of US troops. The US is set to fully leave the country — where according to the UN, 5,000 civilians have been killed and injured in the first half of 2021 alone — by September.

Since American troops started leaving Afghanistan, the country has seen a rapid  resurgence of the Taliban, with the Islamic movement and military organization forcefully taking control of more cities.

Earlier this year, shortly after the US began pulling out troops, China’s Foreign Ministry condemned the US’ decision to leave, saying: “the recent abrupt US announcement of complete withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan has led to a succession of explosive attacks throughout the country, worsening the security situation and threatening peace and stability as well as people’s life and safety.”

Last week, China appointed their new Afghanistan special envoy – a step that, according to several political experts, meant that Beijing is eyeing to play a greater role in the country.

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