Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has urged the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to resume financing support to cash-strapped Afghanistan for reconstruction.
Speaking virtually at a conference hosted by Iran, Minister Yi said, “Afghanistan is in need of revival on all fronts, and development is the top priority.”
The Chinese foreign minister urged the United States and other Western countries to lift unilateral sanctions on Afghanistan and for the World Health Organization to provide more vaccines and medical supplies to help Afghanistan fight COVID-19.
China has already committed $30 million worth of emergency humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.
“My overall impression is that the Taliban is eager to have dialogue and cooperation with the outside, and that they are serious about this,” Wang said.
He added that China will host a meeting of Afghanistan’s neighbours.
The meeting of Afghanistan and neighbouring countries was attended in person by the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and China and Russia participated by video link.
These talks were preceded by a similar conference involving Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries hosted by Pakistan in September.
China, which has not fought in Afghanistan, has been holding out an olive branch to the Taliban since they regained power in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of U.S. forces in August.
The United States and other Western countries are seeking ways to engage with the Taliban and ensure humanitarian aid flows into the country, without granting them the legitimacy they seek.
U.S. officials and Taliban representatives discussed humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan this month in Qatar but Washington said the meetings did not amount to recognition of the Taliban.
At Wednesday’s conference in Iran, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian backed the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan, state television reported. His remarks echoed Iran’s official stance.
Shi’ite Muslim Iran has been a foe of the hardline Sunni Muslim Taliban for decades but over the past few years, it has been openly meeting Taliban leaders. In July, Tehran hosted a meeting of then Afghan government representatives and a high-level Taliban political committee.
Iran has criticised the Taliban, which took control over Afghanistan in August, for excluding ethnic minorities from the government.