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Tipsheet

The Taliban Says China Is a 'Trustworthy Friend'

AP Photo/Zabi Karimi

The Taliban indicated that it would work with the Peoples Republic of China and even called the communist country a "trustworthy friend."

Abdul Salam Hanafi, deputy director of the Taliban’s office in Doha, Qatar, said the terror group would "take effective measures" to protect Chinese institutions and personnel in Afghanistan and would allow China to continue its expansion of the Belt and Road Initiative.

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"China has been a trustworthy friend of Afghanistan," Hanafi said in a Thursday phone call with Chinese assistant foreign minister Wu Jianghao, according to a statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry. "The Afghan Taliban is willing to continue to promote friendly relations between Afghanistan and China and will never allow any force to use Afghan territory to threaten China’s interests."

And while Chinese foreign minister Wang Webin would not directly answer questions at a press conference Friday about whether China will recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government in Afghanistan, he did say that the situation on the ground is being followed closely by the Chinese government.

Webin also pointed out that China's embassy in Afghanistan plays an "important channel for China-Afghanistan exchanges" and is operating normally.

Through its partnership with the Taliban, China will be given access to Afghanistan’s natural resources such as copper and aluminum.

"The cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative advocated by China is conducive to the development and prosperity of Afghanistan and the region at large," the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement following Thursday's call.

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During an interview on Thursday, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid expressed support for China's investment in Afghanistan. 

"China is our most important partner and represents a fundamental and extraordinary opportunity for us, because it is ready to invest [in] and rebuild our country," he said, according to the South China Morning Post.

The Taliban is looking to formally establish a government in the coming days. However, it remains to be seen which countries will recognize them as a legitimate governing body.

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