China to provide S$41.6 million in emergency aid & 3 million Covid-19 vaccines to Afghanistan

Matthias Ang | September 10, 2021, 02:26 PM

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China will provide up to US$31 million (S$41.6 million) in emergency aid to Afghanistan, including food, winter wear and medicine supplies, the BBC and CNN reported.

In addition, China will provide 3 million Covid-19 vaccines to Afghanistan, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced according to state media Global Times, although the date of delivery and the type of vaccines were not specified.

Announcement followed Taliban's formation of interim government

Wang made the announcement on Sep. 8, following a statement by the Taliban on Sep. 7 that it had formed an all-male interim government, largely dominated by members of Afghanistan's Pashtun group, according to AP News.

Speaking at a meeting with his counterparts from several countries neighbouring Afghanistan — Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan — he called on the Taliban to crack down on extreme terrorist groups and sever links with them, Reuters reported.

Wang added, "All parties should strengthen intelligence sharing and border control cooperation to catch and eliminate terrorist groups that have sneaked in from Afghanistan."

He also said that the U.S. and its allies had more of a duty than any other country to provide economic and humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

Wang was quote by Aljazeera as saying:

"They are more obligated than any other country to provide economic, livelihood and humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people, and help Afghanistan maintain stability, prevent chaos and move toward sound development on the premise of respecting the sovereignty and independence of Afghanistan."

Taliban: China is Afghanistan's most important partner

Meanwhile, the Taliban have described China as Afghanistan's most important partner, the BBC further reported.

Speaking to Italian media La Repubblica, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid described China as a "fundamental and extraordinary opportunity for us" as it is willing to invest and build in Afghanistan, according to Aljazeera.

Adding that the Taliban held China's New Silk Road infrastructure initiative in high regard, Mujahid said, "[There are] rich copper mines in the country, which, thanks to the Chinese, can be put back into operation and modernised. In addition, China is our pass to markets all over the world."

He also called for closer relations with China, in an interview Chinese state media CGTNhighlighting, "We want them to have exports to our country and help us in the development of our country. We are looking forward to good relations with them."

CNN reported that Wang had previously met a delegation of senior Taliban leaders in July, which included the group's co-founder and current Afghan deputy prime minister, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

The meeting saw Wang describe the Taliban as an important military and political force.

He also voiced his expectation for the Taliban to play a key role in Afghanistan's reconstruction.

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Top Image via MFA_China Twitter