China has formally accepted Afghanistan's Taliban-appointed Ambassador to Beijing, signaling a noteworthy development in the growing relations between the two nations. While awaiting official confirmation from China, this would mark the first instance of a country hosting a Taliban ambassador since the group's takeover from the American-backed government in Kabul two years ago, VOA reported.
The Taliban's foreign ministry announced that Hong Lei, the director-general of the protocol department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, accepted credentials from the newly appointed ambassador, Asadullah Bilal Karimi. Despite no formal recognition of the de facto Afghan administration, the Taliban sees this as a positive step in their diplomatic relations.
Hong Lei emphasized the importance of Karimi's arrival, stating it is a crucial step in strengthening positive relations between Beijing and Kabul. He reiterated China's respect for Afghan sovereignty, emphasizing a non-interference policy in the country's internal affairs.
Karimi, in his early 30s and a former deputy spokesman at the Taliban-led information ministry, assured the Chinese side of Afghanistan's commitment to regional stability and security. He emphasized that there is no threat from Afghanistan's territory to any nation.
China has actively engaged with the Taliban, evident in its invitation to Taliban delegates to the global Belt and Road Forum in October. Last September, China became the first nation to appoint an ambassador to Kabul under Taliban rule. While some countries have maintained their previous ambassadors, China's approach demonstrates ongoing collaboration with the Taliban leadership.
Chinese companies have expressed interest in investing in Afghanistan, with some signing contracts with the Taliban. However, international banking sector sanctions have posed challenges for foreign investors.
Despite the Taliban's global isolation, about 20 neighboring and regional countries have kept embassies operational since the Taliban takeover in 2021. Western countries, including the United States, have relocated their Afghan diplomatic missions to Qatar to sustain humanitarian aid efforts.