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A Taliban fighter looks on as he stands at the city of Ghazni, Afghanistan August 14, 2021. — Reuters pic
A Taliban fighter looks on as he stands at the city of Ghazni, Afghanistan August 14, 2021. — Reuters pic

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WASHINGTON, Aug 17 — Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Secretary of State Antony Blinken yesterday that the hasty pullout of US troops from Afghanistan had a “serious negative impact,” but pledged to work with Washington to promote stability in the country.

Thousands of civilians desperate to flee Afghanistan thronged Kabul airport’s single runway yesterday after the Taliban seized the capital in the face of the US military drawdown there.

President Joe Biden blamed the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan on Afghan political leaders who fled the country and the unwillingness of the Afghan army to fight the militant group.

The US State Department said in a short statement that Blinken spoke with Wang about “the security situation and our respective efforts to bring US and PRC citizens to safety,” using the acronym for the People’s Republic of China.

It said Blinken had spoken separately to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Wang told Blinken the facts on the ground in Afghanistan proved that a foreign model could not be arbitrarily applied to a country with different cultural and historical conditions, according to a Chinese state media report.

“Using force and military means to resolve problems will just increase them. The lessons of this deserve serious reflection,” China’s state broadcaster CCTV cited Wang as saying.

Wang said that China was willing to communicate with Washington to help prevent a new civil war or humanitarian disaster after the “serious negative impact” of the United States’ “hurried withdrawal” of troops.

“But the United States cannot on one hand actively seek to contain and suppress China and harm China’s legitimate rights and interests, and on the other hand hope for China’s cooperation,” Wang said.

He also criticised the United States for removing the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) from its list of terrorist groups, saying it showed US double standards on counterterrorism.

Beijing has concerns that ETIM is active in neighbouring Afghanistan and wants to create a separate state in China’s western region of Xinjiang, where Chinese authorities have set up mass detention camps they say are aimed at vocational training to curb extremism.

The US government says ETIM no longer exists as a formal organisation and is instead a broad label China uses to oppress a variety of Muslim ethnic groups, including Uyghurs. — Reuters

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