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As American forces and their NATO allies withdraw from Afghanistan, Chinese officials are meeting representatives of the Taliban...
... who they say will play a quote, "important role" in Afghanistan's future.
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi met the nine-person delegation in the Chinese city of Tianjin.
Foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian:
“Wang Yi pointed out that the Afghan Taliban is a pivotal military and political force in Afghanistan and is expected to play an important role in peaceful reconciliation and reconstruction in Afghanistan."
Taliban delegations have also visited Iran and Russia in recent weeks.
It comes as the group has seized several districts across Afghanistan and reports of escalating attacks on civilians.
This was U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on a trip in India Wednesday:
"The Taliban says that it seeks international recognition, that it wants international support for Afghanistan. Presumably it wants its leaders to be able to travel freely in the world, sanctions lifted, etc. Well, the taking over the country by force and abusing the rights of its people is not the path to achieve those objectives. There's only one path and that's at the negotiating table to resolve the conflict peacefully and to have an Afghanistan emerged that is governed in a genuinely inclusive way and that's representative of all its people."
Afghanistan shares a border with both China and Iran. As the security situation worsens there, peace talks in Qatar's capital have made little progress.