Beijing: Following the fall of Kabul into the hands of the Taliban, China on Monday said that it is willing to develop "friendly relations" with the terrorist outfit.
"China respects the right of the Afghan people to independently determine their own destiny and is willing to continue to develop... friendly and cooperative relations with Afghanistan," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters, said ARY News. The Taliban declared the war in Afghanistan was over after they took control of the presidential palace in Kabul on Sunday after US-led forces departed and Western nations scrambled to evacuate their citizens.
President Ashraf Ghani fled the country as the Taliban entered the city, saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed, while hundreds of Afghans desperate to leave flooded Kabul airport.
The world has been left stunned at images of the Taliban's blitzkrieg across Afghanistan, as that country's military evaporated with remarkable swiftness.
Earlier on July 28, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met formally in Tianjin with a nine-member Taliban delegation, including Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the hardline Muslim group's co-founder and deputy leader.
The meeting itself was not a surprise - for the Taliban has been in China previously for meetings - but the way China publicized it was. Indeed, Wang publicly acknowledged the Taliban as "a crucial military and political force in Afghanistan that is expected to play an important role in the peace, reconciliation and reconstruction process of the country".
Such a Chinese affirmation was unprecedented, giving the Taliban much-needed legitimacy on the international stage and many countries still define the Taliban as a terrorist organization.