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China chides U.S. for hasty troop withdrawal from Afghanistan

BEIJING — Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has chided the United States for its hasty withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and urged Washington to play a constructive role in helping rebuild peace there, Chinese media said Tuesday.

 

During telephone talks with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday, Wang also said China is “willing to communicate” with the United States to “promote the realization of a soft landing on the Afghan issue,” according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

 

The Taliban declared victory in Afghanistan after taking control of the capital Kabul and President Ashraf Ghani fled the nation on Sunday, marking the Islamist militant group’s return to power 20 years after its removal by U.S.-led forces.

 

Following the move, thousands of Afghans reportedly rushed to the airport in Kabul, with video footage showing some falling from deadly heights after trying to cling to the outside of a departing U.S. military plane, attempting to escape from the Taliban.

 

Wang told Blinken that the hurried U.S. troop drawdown was having a “serious negative impact,” Xinhua reported.

Blinken was quoted as telling Wang that the United States believes citizens of Afghanistan should decide the future of their country, and it has called on the Taliban to ensure the safety of all people who wish to leave the country.

The U.S. top diplomat also said it is very important for the United States and China to maintain communication on major international and regional issues, according to the news agency.

 

Amid growing fears about the chaos sparked by the Taliban, U.S. President Joe Biden pledged Monday to complete the planned pullout of his nation’s troops in Afghanistan.

 

China, meanwhile, has expressed hope that the Taliban will establish a political structure that would lay the foundation for lasting peace in Afghanistan, effectively accepting its takeover of the country.

 

Some foreign affairs experts say China has been eager to boost its influence in Afghanistan in the wake of the withdrawal of the U.S. military forces from the nation, as tensions between Beijing and Washington have shown few signs of easing soon.

 

China has apparently regarded Afghanistan as a key relay point to push ahead with its “Belt and Road” project to develop infrastructure and trade across Asia, Europe and Africa, which it touts as a modern Silk Road economic zone.

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