Despite reported overtures to the Taliban by President Joe Biden, there are reports that the Taliban have invited Russia and China to attend its government formation ceremony, along with Pakistan, Turkey, Qatar, and Iran.
While the U.S. media has yet to report the news, the Russian news agency TASS cited Al Jazeera to say a Taliban representative said, “We have sent invitations to Turkey, China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan and Qatar to take part in the [ceremony] of announcing [the composition of the new Afghan] government.”
Times Now News, an English news channel in India, cited a pro-Taliban Twitter account to report the development, noting that the tweet came on the same day the Taliban claimed to have taken control of the Panjshir Valley, home to the resistance movement led by the former vice president and the son of noted anti-Taliban fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was killed just before the 9/11 attacks in the U.S. — the National Resistance Front disputes the claim.
According to TNN, Pakistan, China and Russia “are among the very few countries still operating their embassies in the Central Asian country that has been taken over by the insurgents.”
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the head of the Taliban’s political office, told Al Jazeera they are in the process of forming an inclusive government.
“I assure the people that we strive to improve their living conditions, and that the government will be responsible to everyone and will provide security because it is necessary for economic development, not just in Afghanistan but in the whole world,” Baradar said.
Interestingly, Biden was asked Monday evening as he returned from a long holiday weekend in Delaware to the White House whether he’d recognize the Taliban government and he did not say no, the Associated Press reported.
“That’s a long way off. That’s a long way off,” the president said.
On Monday, Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid spoke of the militants’ desire to join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), according to the Times of India.
“China announced the ‘China Pakistan Economic Corridor’ project which is worth [$46 billion],” the Times reported. “With CPEC, Beijing aims to expand its influence in Pakistan and across Central and South Asia in order to counter the influence of the U.S. and India.”
Foreign Policy Magazine noted last week that China, Russia, and Pakistan have openly challenged U.S. diplomatic pressure on Afghanistan at the United Nations.
“In an address to the U.N. Security Council, a senior Chinese diplomat, Geng Shuang, said it was time to bring the Taliban into the international fold and hold U.S. and other Western forces accountable for crimes in Afghanistan,” wrote Foreign Policy’s Colum Lynch. “Russia also took issue with the U.S.-led evacuation effort, noting how the ensuing ‘brain drain’ of Afghan professionals threatens to jeopardize the country’s effort to run the government and pursue the country’s development goals.”
Afghanistan is considered one of the poorest countries in the world, and the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund responded to the Taliban taking control by reportedly cutting off the country from financial resources, and the U.S. Treasury froze billions in Afghan reserve funds being held in America.
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said this week the United Nations has promised to maintain assistance to the country at a meeting with the U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs in Kabul.
“The UN delegation promised continuation of humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people, saying he would call for further assistance to Afghanistan during the coming meeting of donor countries,” Shaheen tweeted.
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